How To Deal With The Rising Threat Of Dengue In India

13 Nov 2019

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In today’s day and age, you are sure to know someone in your direct or indirect social circle who has been down with dengue. While completely curable, if not treated on time it can be fatal. Plus, it affects the poor and rich equally, an example being filmmaker Yash Chopra who lost his life to this deadly disease [1]. Caused by a mosquito bite, it is widespread in tropical and developing countries like India, as humidity and lack of cleanliness are favorable for the growth and breeding of these insects. So, here’s everything you need to know about this disease.

 

Dengue in India

From January to October 2019, more than 67,000 cases of dengue have been reported in India [2]. It has taken over 40 lives in the same period, mainly affecting the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujrat, Kerala, and Delhi. This was due to torrential rains during the retreating monsoon, in these states.

This further led to more spaces of stagnant water and disruption of drainage systems, allowing mosquitoes to breed and multiply. Additionally, urbanization in large cities results in a lack of cleanliness and waste management. These factors contribute to the growth and spread of the disease.

How Does Dengue Affect The Body?

The species of mosquito called Aedes, carry the virus and pass on to humans in the bloodstream when they bite. This makes the disease difficult to control. Once infected the virus multiplies very rapidly within three to seven days during which the infected patient experiences symptoms such as:

  • Severe headache or body aches

  • High fever, especially in the evening

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Pain behind the eyes

  • Rash or dots on the body

  • Swollen glands

  • Rapid dropping of platelet count

  • Dehydration

During the first few days, when the virus multiplies in the patient’s body, they become a carrier and infect other mosquitoes that bite them. If not checked and controlled then, dengue progresses rapidly to a serious level, with complications such as plasma leaking, fluid accumulation, respiratory disease, severe bleeding, or organ impairment. Urgent medical care is needed for the patient to avoid serious complications or even death.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Dengue can be prevented by protecting yourself from mosquitoes and reducing their breeding, especially during the monsoon. Here are a few preventive measures for it:

  • Discard stagnant, contaminated, or dirty water in and around your home or place of work. This is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and hence, for the dengue virus. The stagnant water could be in the form of rainwater puddles, water collected in flowering pots, and leaking drainage systems.

  • Always use mosquito nets while sleeping. Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET [3], which is a strong and effective insect repellent.

  • Cover your whole body, especially the ankles, by wearing long pants or socks. Aedes mosquitoes are notorious for biting on the feet and ankles due to the damp smell. Be careful when you visit mosquito prone areas like parks or open areas.

  • Keep your wet garbage separate from dry garbage and get rid of it as soon as possible.

  • Minimize the dampness and moisture in your house, which attracts mosquitoes and provides them a cozy home.

  • Keep dry clothes away from wet clothes, and air-dry the wet clothes as soon as possible.

  • Close your doors and windows during dawn and dusk to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

In spite of taking these precautions, you are still in danger of getting infected when you step out. Hence, it is better to develop strong immunity and give the virus a tough fight. Add these foods in your diet to strengthen your body.

  • Fruits & Vegetables: Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, pineapples, and leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamin C [4]. This vitamin increases immunity by producing more white blood cells and lymphocytes. They are the body’s defense against foreign viruses and can prevent these infections. These foods are also loaded with antioxidants that do not allow free radicals of the atmosphere to cause damage.

  • Spices: Ginger and garlic go into every your daily meal due to its taste and medicinal properties. Garlic contains sulfur which has anti-bacterial and antifungal properties [5]. Ginger is an immunity booster due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [6]. Turmeric is another power spice with similar properties of ginger, but is more potent to fight infections and diseases, in comparison [7].

  • Yogurt: A probiotic [8] and an immunity booster, this delicious creamy food improves your gut health and fortifies your immunity.

  • Juice Of Papaya Leaves: Dengue affects the platelet count in our blood, and the nutrients in papaya [9] help increase the same. Hence, it is considered to be a natural cure for dengue.

  • Nutritional Supplements: While food is a good way to get nutrients, you may not be getting the right amount or your body might absorb it before it gets to the bloodstream. Hence, a concentrated version of these nutrients, like turmeric, is available as supplements. These deliver a power-packed version of immunity-boosting items, without any side effects.

References:

  1. https://www.hindustantimes.com/bollywood/dengue-was-the-cause-of-yash-chopra-s-death-says-bmc/story-aIRnnSH8UIWyzdKdn6NYhO.html

  2. https://nvbdcp.gov.in/index4.php?lang=1&level=0&linkid=431&lid=3715

  3. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/DEETgen.html

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/

  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/

  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3807819/

  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614241/

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