For months, the newspaper headlines screamed detailed details how Dengue was killing people, across ages. This induced more panic to the already panic-struck media worshippers. (Phew! Thankfully the media folks slowly have shifted their focus now to Narendra Modiji, comprehending Dengue has gathered its own "Popularity", its own way!)
Being a mother of 3 children (Yes! You read it right!!!), I try to be vigilant about their safety and well-being, with whatever information I have gathered from my mother, mother-in-law, Facebook posts, Whatsapp forwards, my friends...and mostly Google! (The mother of all mothers!!!)
My youngest child's abrupt “Fever and Sick Leave-Back to School-Fever and Sick Leave” pattern repeating for 3 consecutive times left me confused and worried, whether the “New-school-phobia” was inducing sickness or was it something else?
A visit to the doctor was followed by a series of blood tests.
I had to hear the much-dreaded words from the doctor - "Your child's blood test shows Dengue Positive!"
Honestly, I hadn't bothered putting any time and efforts to enlighten myself about Dengue. After all, I consider myself with an "Obsessive Cleaning Disorder" and my house is usually clean. Furthermore, with constant use of the mosquito repellent vaporizers, was I not with (assumed) certainty we would not be affected by Dengue???
(Little did I realize these little flying monsters with infected needles could be safely hiding under the sink, storage areas, kitchen garbage, curtains, plants, cisterns and in nooks and corners that you can't possibly think of!)
As I watched my little one, fragile and vulnerable, hospitalized, administered Intravenous (IV) fluids (to prevent dehydration) and with gadgets plugged, monitoring her BP and heart, a chain of questions erupted.
As the Pediatrician made his morning visit, I spontaneously went on bombarding one question after the other, with my wide-eyed apprehensions. Thankfully the doctor who stood in front of me had the wisdom to sense my worry and patiently addressed them.
Well, here goes the Q & A between the Pediatrician and me…
Q: stands for Questions from an (extremely worried) mother
A: stands for Answers from the (sympathetic) doctor
Q. What is dengue fever?
A: This disease is spread by Aedes mosquitoes after having bitten an infected person. The blood platelets counts start dropping. Well, Platelets are blood cells responsible for blood clotting.
The fever typically would last at least six days. The patient would be monitored through regular blood tests.
Q. It is worrying to see the platelets counts dropping drastically day.
A: There is no need to panic as we would monitor the platelets for the next two days. There are no drugs available.
Fluid therapy is the effective treatment for naturally increasing the platelets. Ensure your child has sufficient oral fluids to avoid dehydration. Since the child would be uneasy and fussy, fluids could be coconut water, lemonade, canned natural juices or even plain water.
Platelet transfusion would be required only when the platelet count falls below 10,000. Bleeding can occur if the platelet count falls drastically, which is the actual risk.
Q. We just did a blood test. Can the blood tests twice a day be reduced, considering that it is going to be painful for the child?
A: The symptoms can either reduce or get worse and this can be identified through the platelets count. Hence the needle piercing blood tests are inevitable.
Q. I keep getting forwards in all ways possible mentioning that Papaya leaves juice help in blood platelets gain?
A: This has not been medically proven. Fluids (either orally or through IV) would contribute towards gain in Platelets count
Q: I keep my children well protected while they sleep at night. How did my child get infected?
A: The mosquitoes are Day-Biters and are the culprits behind transmitting Dengue from an infected person to another. This can even happen in the school, playgrounds, markets...anywhere!
Q. I have my 2 kids at home and concerned that they might be infected too. What are the symptoms I need to watch out?
A: Dengue is usually accompanied abrupt high fever, headache, body ache especially the joints, sore throat, and rashes. (In case of advanced stages of Dengue).
Q. What are the cautious measures to prevent dengue?
- Ensure to use mosquito repellent spray or lotion on the child's exposed part of the body
- Make them wear full sleeved clothes, socks etc.
- Preferable to have mosquito nets around the bed, when the kids sleep
- Avoid letting your child near infected people
- Be watchful of stagnant water around your premises, as this encourages mosquitoes breeding
- Get rid of junk at home.
- Visit the physician immediately, if the fever in your child persists beyond 2 days
- The standard self-medication for fever such as Bruffen/Aspirin/Combiflam/Dispirin should be avoided
- In case of suspecting Dengue in your child, a Blood Test would reveal the Platelets count.
I gave a sigh of relief when they announced she was fine and could be back home, along with some medication and a blood test to be repeated after 4-5 days, to measure the platelets.
Back home, her immunity power was visibly down with drastic weight loss, leaving her pale. A healthy diet with Kiwi, Pomegranate, Papaya, Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and soya bean aided to regain the lost stamina. Junk foods, caffeinated beverages etc was a strict ‘No-No’.
This incident turned out to be an absolute eye-opener not to take health for granted. Literally understood what they meant by “Prevention is better than cure!”
Image Courtesy: pixabay.com
Bhuvana is a Software professional, holding a masters degree from BITS (Pilani). She manages to toggle between her loving family (a supportive husband and 3 kids) and her passion for Interior Designing, gardening, blogging, reading. She truly wishes the day had beyond 24 hours. Marriage and children seem to be bringing along with it, inexplicable volumes of experiences and lessons, which she wishes to share with the ever-evolving mommies, who are sailing in the same boat as her.