My Own Experience with Dengue Fever and Some Prevention Tips

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Aside from heavy rain and typhoons, people also have to watch out for diseases like dengue fever during the rainy season. Recently, the local news reported a dengue outbreak in Batanes where dengue patients were transferred from Itbayat to Basco island for better treatment. I wish and pray for a fast recovery for all those who are currently suffering from dengue fever because being infected by this virus is no joke. I, myself, was a victim of dengue, but I'll save my story on the last part of this blog. Let's get to know more about dengue.


(image source: Pixabay)

Dengue fever is caused by dengue virus carried by mosquitoes specifically the female Aedes Aegypti type. Symptoms of dengue fever are skin rash, bleeding, muscle and joint pain, high fever, and vomiting. Dengue virus affects the blood platelets, but the disease can be treated, though deadly when not treated early. 

(video source: DengueInfo via Youtube)



(image source: Wikipedia)

The tawa tawa plant or snakeweed has become a popular cure for dengue fever in the Philippines for the past years. People have claimed that drinking tawa tawa tea helps to increase the platelet count of a dengue patient. Here's a LINK on how to make the tawa tawa tea.


People have also attested on papaya leaves as an effective cure to dengue fever. Grind the papaya leaves to extract its juice and have the dengue patient drink it. Here are some guides on how to properly make a cure out of papaya leaves. (Papaya leaves for dengue.)


Garlic has anti-inflammatory properties and so it cures inflammation caused by the dengue fever. This is what my family used to help me heal from dengue fever.



(image source: Pixabay)

Mosquitoes breed on stagnant waters so make it a habit to clean your surroundings. Drain accumulated water, cover water containers, and replace the water everyday especially for flower vases. Do not let water be exposed so there will be no way mosquitoes can breed in your area.


(image source: Pixabay)

Mosquito fogging is mostly done in schools and villages as far as I know. When I was still a student, our classes would be canceled to give way for anti-mosquito fogging around the campus. However, they say that fumigation is not a very effective way to get rid of mosquitoes. The effect would only last for about 10 minutes and fades away as the smoke dissolves in the air. (Read more here.) I guess this method is quite dangerous for our health as smoke mixes with the air we breathe.


Fishes eat mosquito larvae especially those called mosquito fish. Releasing mosquito fishes in the sewers and canals has been one way to impede the dengue mosquitoes from spreading in the province of Pangasinan. (Read more here.) Mosquito fishes can also survive the waters in canals and sewers which makes them a good instrument to chase after and kill mosquito larvae.


(image source: Pixabay)

You can also guard your home by planting mosquito repellent plants. Aside from being a natural mosquito repellent, they also add decor to your home! Some plants you can have to drive the mosquitoes away are lavender, marigold, citronella grass, catnip, rosemary, basil, and scented geraniums.



Apply it especially on your arms and legs. Mosquito repellent lotions are available at supermarkets so it’s easy to have one. Don’t forget to reapply after a few hours. Read the lotion’s packaging to know how long the lotion stays effective on your skin. There's also a repellent spray but always prefer the lotion as much as possible because there might be a tendency to inhale the chemicals of the repellent spray.


You can also choose to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants to prevent your skin from being exposed to mosquitoes. Wear closed shoes too. They say mosquitoes are more attracted to dark-colored clothing. Dark colored clothes absorb more heat which attracts mosquitoes. So if you don't want to attract more mosquitoes, wear light colored clothes instead.


(image source: Pixabay)

I don’t know if they used this thing in other countries, but in the Philippines, we have this mosquito net (or “kulambo” in Filipino) which is used to shield you from mosquitoes and other insects while you sleep. The kulambo is wrapped around the bed to keep you mosquito-free. No more mosquitoes buzzing in your ear and biting on your skin to disturb your precious sleep!


Of course, the best way to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes is to avoid going to places they would most likely be residing. Avoid damp places and areas with stagnant waters and stay indoors when you have nothing important to do outside.


I had my dengue fever when I was in 3rd-year high school. (That was way back year...oh never mind!) While we were having our lesson one afternoon, I started to feel bad. I thought of going home earlier but I decided to finish it since it was our last class of the day. Night came and I felt very weak while on the sofa watching television. I thought I was only tired and sleepy.

Next day, I still attended school since my school was only a few walks away from home. Little did I know going to school that day was a wrong move. I felt more bad and dizzy so I went by the principal’s office during lunch break to get a permission to go home early. The Assistant Principal had me call our home first so they know that I am going home. (Even though our home is just around 20 steps away from the school’s gate, I still have to follow the school’s rules.) I returned to our classroom, got my bag, and went home.

(image source: Pixabay)

Of course, my parents thought it was only another normal fever so they had me take regular medicines. Surprisingly, my temperature went up and down and up, never going away. After like 3 days, they decided to take me to the hospital to know what’s really happening to my body.

(image source: Pixabay)

I was taken to a room and a nurse took a syringe and drew blood from me. Later on, I asked my parents if I would be confined to the hospital or not. (I was hoping I wouldn’t because I hate hospitals. Haha) The nurse returned after a while with an IV (Intravenous) kit and stuff. I immediately knew what’s about to happen. So I was confined while we wait for my blood examination result. The next day, results came out. I was positive with dengue and typhoid fever. No wonder why my fever never went away.

Meanwhile, everyone in my family was surprised to know that I went positive for dengue and typhoid. We never saw signs like rashes or bleeding. I think rashes had appeared on my 2nd day at the hospital, and only appearing on my legs. I also had my first menstruation while I was confined. My mom mistook it as an effect of dengue. Regarding the typhoid fever, they kept asking me if what I ate the past few days. And I remembered I ate on an eatery near the school with my classmates during the weekend. The eatery got lots of flies flying around so that must be it!

(image source: Pixabay)

I was confined at the hospital for 9 days. Blood was drawn from me twice a day, morning and evening, even though my inner elbow was already bruised from the needles. My left arm was also bruised from blood pressure monitoring every day. The medicines which I hated to drink so my parents had to suggest for a liquid alternative to be injected into my IV tube instead. The sting the fluid medicine feels when it goes in my veins. The painful skin test. The nurse who drew blood from my wrist one morning, it was very painful I almost cursed her. The fluids forming on my lungs that caused me trouble breathing. They have to give me an oxygen tank to breathe better. Finally experienced being X-rayed. Most of all, the fear of running out of platelet bags.

Dengue affects our blood platelets and so we need to replenish it while the virus continues to wreak havoc in our system. On my first examination, I only had 100+ platelet count (normal should be above 300). My platelet count went down every day. The lowest it got was 41 or 42. I overheard my father’s conversation with his friend and told that a very low platelet count can cause hemorrhage in the brain which could lead to death. He was talking about a platelet count as low as 2. I got so scared of what I heard, I thought I was already going to die in a few days because my platelet count was nowhere improving.

(image source: Pixabay)

I was only required a few bags of blood for blood transfusion but they required me more than 20 platelet bags for platelet transfusion. Searching for blood and platelet bags was a very challenging part for my family. I have an O blood type and so supply for this blood type easily runs out. My family would search around blood banks and hospitals in the city day and night to complete the required number of bags for my transfusion. Aside from the medicines and stuff, my family also had me eat lots of fruits and mashed potatoes with garlic every day. The mashed potatoes definitely taste weird and a little bad. I know my mom or sister made it but every time I ask where they got it, they would say they bought it somewhere. (When I ask my mom today, she admits that they made the mashed potatoes with garlic. They made an excuse that they bought it so I’ll eat it.) 

Eventually, I got better and was released from the hospital after 9 days. It was December back then and I was only able to return to school a day before our Christmas party. My mom had me rest for 1 week after I got out of the hospital. I missed a lot of school lessons and activities, I even feared that they’ll have me retake the 3rd year. But all went well, they let me take my 3rd quarter exam after Christmas vacation. Aside from that, I gained so much weight after getting sick. I had a waistline of 25, and it jumped to 28 after. My school skirt would no longer close, I have to improvise a pin for the hook to attach on it.

If there was an effect caused by dengue on me, it would be an increase in appetite. No wonder why my waistline got that far in a span of 9 days! I sure did expand for a short time but all the bills and stuff had definitely slimmed my parents’ wallets in return. They told me they have overall roughly spent Php 110,000 ($ 2,058 USD). We could’ve bought a secondhand car with that amount!

Through this experience, I started being extra cautious whenever I go to a place where mosquitoes might be present. I don’t want to stay at the hospital for that long again and certainly don’t want to waste an amount that huge ever again!

Before I forget, my doctor also recommended that I get a vaccine for dengue when I was discharged from the hospital. I didn’t have it since it was just an option.


"Prevention is better than cure."

(video source: Deep Look via Youtube)

I think the best way to avoid having dengue fever is to not let mosquitoes bite you. Take care of yourself, remember, prevention is better than cure. Dengue fever is a serious disease. I pray that I will be the first and last one to have this disease because it will not only risk your life, but will take a lot of time and money from you. They do not only attack during the rainy season but anytime of the year. Take me as an example. It can happen to anyone so stay safe and don't let the mosquitoes bite you.

✧ Straykat

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