Dengue


Disease Description


Though bacterial infections are always discussed with tremendous seriousness, it is the viral infections that often prove to be more dreadful. While polio has been almost eradicated and influenza has not remained a threat any more, viral diseases such as dengue and swine flu continue to wreck havoc intermittently in many parts of the world. Dengue epidemic during the Commonwealth Games in Delhi had become a big issue and forced many foreign players to pull out of the games.

Cause


Like most of the other febrile illnesses, dengue too is spread mostly by mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti mosquito usually carries this virus from one person to another. The mosquito breeds well in water reservoirs and pot holes. So dengue epidemics are often seen during monsoon months in India when water tends to accumulate at various places and provides a fertile ground for mosquitoes to flourish. Apart from mosquito bites, the other ways by which the dengue virus can gain entry into the human body is through the injections of blood, serum & plasma. However in majority of the cases, it is the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the virus in community. The female mosquito acquires the virus by biting an infected individual suffering from fever. The virus then grows inside the body of the mosquito and reaches even its saliva. As this mosquito generally prefers human blood as its food and lays eggs in domestic water containers, the spread of the virus becomes quite easy. A single bite of such a mosquito is sufficient to infect a healthy individual with the virus.

Symptoms


Once the mosquito makes an entry into the human body, it may produce the dengue fever within 3 to 15 days. Not all people bitten by the mosquito develop dengue fever as quite a few remain symptomless. Less than 20% people suffer from the disease and display the classical symptoms. The first febrile phase is marked by fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, pains in muscles & joints and goes on from 2 to 7 days. The virus attaches the blood cells as a result of which the blood starts oozing out of small capillaries and starts accumulating below the skin. This causes rashes on skin. As these symptoms are seen in many other diseases as well, the diagnosis of dengue is confirmed by detecting dengue antibodies in patient's serum. Though the fever attack generally subsides within a week and most of the symptoms start disappearing, in few patients bleeding inside the body cavities may occur. This happens because the virus attacks the bone marrow as a result of which platelet production is reduced. Since the platelets are essential for successful blood clotting, reduction in their count results in hemorrhages. This hemorrhages phase is however generally followed by the complete recovery when the body reabsorbs the leaked fluids from the blood stream. The weakness caused by the fever however persists for several weeks. In few cases however, life-threatening situation may arise and require intensive treatment.

Treatment


Once the mosquito makes an entry into the human body, it may produce the dengue fever within 3 to 15 days. Not all people bitten by the mosquito develop dengue fever as quite a few remain symptomless. Less than 20% people suffer from the disease and display the classical symptoms. The first febrile phase is marked by fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, pains in muscles & joints and goes on from 2 to 7 days. The virus attaches the blood cells as a result of which the blood starts oozing out of small capillaries and starts accumulating below the skin. This causes rashes on skin. As these symptoms are seen in many other diseases as well, the diagnosis of dengue is confirmed by detecting dengue antibodies in patient's serum. Though the fever attack generally subsides within a week and most of the symptoms start disappearing, in few patients bleeding inside the body cavities may occur. This happens because the virus attacks the bone marrow as a result of which platelet production is reduced. Since the platelets are essential for successful blood clotting, reduction in their count results in hemorrhages. This hemorrhages phase is however generally followed by the complete recovery when the body reabsorbs the leaked fluids from the blood stream. The weakness caused by the fever however persists for several weeks. In few cases however, life-threatening situation may arise and require intensive treatment.

Diet & Life Style


Most of the mosquito-spread infections can be prevented by discouraging the proliferation of mosquitoes. Keeping the surroundings clean, preventing unhealthy accumulation of water, spreading the water reservoirs with mosquito repellant chemicals & insecticides and keeping the domestic water covered reduces the scope for mosquito breeding and applies breaks on diseases like dengue. Hunting down mosquitoes becomes particularly important during the epidemics of the disease and in the unclean areas. Accumulation of water can be prevented in such areas by filling up the ditches and closing up the drainages. Maintaining individual health by proper diet, exercises and mental relaxation is important. As said already, not all people bitten by the mosquito develop the disease. So having strong immunity, balance of doshas and strong dhatus (tissues) certainly reduces the possibility of acquiring the disease and protects the individual health even if there is no vaccine for the disease. Use of mosquito repellants, mosquito nets and covering the body by sufficient clothes can protect oneself from the mosquito bite and subsequent infection of virus. Eating spicy, oily food, fried items and non-veg articles which can burden the gastric fire should be avoided completely and diet should be restricted to vegetarian alternatives. While fruits like citrus fruits, figs, papaya are acceptable, heavy fruits like banana and mangoes should not be eaten. Food from open stalls and eateries should be avoided and water from unknown or unclean sources should not be drunk. Chyawanprash may be consumed to boost immunity. Getting wet in rains should be avoided and in case of such an incident, wet clothes should be changed immediately. Travelling into the areas where dengue is prevalent should be avoided. Doing Yoga, Pranayama, spiritual reading proves useful and burning camphor or other similar latex discourages mosquito growth. Book a Consultation


Disease Description
Cause
Symptoms
Treatment
Diet And Life Style




Dr. Akhilesh Shrivastava
B.A.M.S. ,M.D.(Ayu)