Find below answers to common questions, validated by doctors. Please note that any decision must be made in consultation with a doctor.
Chikungunya/Dengue/Malaria: High fever caused by a mosquito bite.
Sudden onset of fever which can go as high as 104oF and lasts for less than 7 days.
Pain in Joints(ankles, fingers or wrists) and muscles.
One may also have frequent severe headache and vomiting.
Anaemia (Low haemoglobin count of less than 10) and dehydration.
Chikungunya, Dengue and Malaria show very similar symptoms. Difference is:
In chikungunya, 'pain in joints is more intense' as compared to malaria/dengue cases.
In malaria, one experiences severe 'chills/shivering' and then 'sweating'.
In dengue, fever is high and not settling with persistent vomitting or stomach/abdominal pain. Platelet count usually drops below normal level. A normal platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 450,000. Fever goes but may reoccur with 'skin rash'.
When to see a doctor (General Physician):
Hospitalize for close monitoring if platelets count go below 20,000.
If you have consistently high fever, more than 101oF for more than 3 days.
Frequent bouts of severe headache, pain in joints and not able to sleep properly.
If you experience vomiting, severe pain in abdomen and feeling of weakness.
Most patients can be treated at home but keeping a dengue patient fully hydrated is extremely important. If the patient is always lying down and urinates at more that 4 hours interval, then he/she is not taking sufficient water. Watch out because in just a few hours, the patient will show signs of severity. So rest and good intake of water/fluids is important.
Only 3% to 4% diagnosed with dengue need hospitalization. Symptoms last for about 7 days and then gradually go away. Full recovery may take longer.
To lower body temperature, drink boiled water mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon powder.
To increase platelet count naturally:
Papaya Leaves Juice -once a day- is a natural cure for dengue. Extract juice from just papaya leaves(no stem part), wash and crush them to extract 1 tablespoon juice. Its bitter but helps increase platelet count.
Take 1 spoon of aloe vera juice twice a day.
A small branch of Giloi or its juice is helpful if taken twice a day.
Take food rich in Vitamin B12, Omega-3 fatty acid, flax seed oil, Pomegranate(Anaar), Orange, Tomato. Avoid pizza and alcohol.
Like most viral diseases, there is no medicine that can treat chikungunya or dengue.
For treating malaria, antimalarial medicines like Chloroquine may be given depending upon the severity of the disease. Antimalarial medicines leave you dehydrated, so make sure you drink plenty of water and juices.
Complete rest is recommended for fast recovery. Consume easy to digest food that is rich in iron.
Most doctors prescribe medicines like Paracetamol to relieve joint pain and fever.
Do NOT take Aspirin or Brufen as they may decrease the platelet count.
If hospitalized, intravenous fluids (glucose) may be given to prevent dehydration.
Patient is considered critical if platelet count falls below 20,000. Count returns to normal range once dengue or viral fever is cured.
Platelet transfusion is done if platelets count go below 15,000. Normal platelet count range is 150,000 to 450,000.
Tests for detection:
Dengue is diagnosed using Dengue NS1 antigen test (which costs about Rs. 2000 to 2500) and dengue specific IgM and IgG tests (which cost about Rs. 1500 to 2000).
Complete blood count (CBC) blood test may also be done to check for chikungunya/dengue/malaria.
If you see symptoms mentioned above which are getting worse, get a blood test done soon.
It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between chikungunya, dengue and malaria as the symptoms are very similar.
Chikungunya, Dengue and Malaria is spread when an infected mosquito bites the human body.
Among the 3 diseases, malaria usually occurs after 10 to 15 days of a mosquito bite while chikungunya/dengue symptoms may show up within 3 to 5 days after the mosquito bite.
Is it contagious:
Chikungunya, Dengue and Malaria are not contagious. Mosquitoes spread the disease.
How to prevent it?
Reduce the risk of mosquito bite. Use mosquito repellents and spray insecticides in/around your house.
Make sure there is no stagnant water near your home/office, air coolers and flower pots.
For babies, use mosquito net when sleeping even during day time.
Minimize skin exposure to the day-biting mosquitoes by wearing full sleeved clothes.
To stop mosquitoes from coming into your house, use detachable washable nets on your windows.
Keep yourself hydrated. Drink at least 8 glasses of clean water every day.
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