It’s one of those disease that nobody cares or talks about till it spreads and become epidemic. Moreover, it often has a story attached to it. Interestingly, it is spread by the bite of a female mosquito that sleeps at night and gets to work (bite, bite, and bite) during the day. This year Dengue cases were the highest seen in the last five years in Delhi NCR region.
This year as the news of dengue turning into an epidemic reached every nook and corner of the city; the vivid memories of this disease played inside my mind. It was last year when one fine day I had breakfast and was about to leave for office. The moment I stepped out, I felt a little sluggish, and against a pressing deadline at work, decided to take the day off. Although there was no prior sign of illness or tiredness from work till the day before, I thought it’d be better if I could just sleep for some time. After a few hours, when I woke up I was suddenly feeling weak while a mild pain thumped my head and eyes.
What followed were three days of intense fever as things simply went from bad to worse in a matter of few hours, and I had to transfer my pressing deadline at work to another able colleague. For the uninitiated, the major symptoms of dengue can include high fever, chills, headaches, eye pain, red eyes, a red flush to the face, pain in lower back, extreme weakness, and severe aches in the legs and joints.
It was day four and my mother advised me to see a doctor. So after I took a shower I went to see the doctor who after taking note of all the symptoms asked me to undergo a few medical tests. The tests report stated drop in blood values and depleted platelet count, and dengue fever was promptly diagnosed. With next to no appetite and dehydration taking a toll on me, I was hospitalized. I was put on drip for the next four days.
If I have to tell you the truth, I had read about dengue in newspapers, online and heard about it on TV, but never did I imagined that Dengue could hit me. From whatever I heard dengue is spread by the bite of a mosquito, when you live in a dirt-free urban neighborhood, there never occurs a feeling that a danger, a tiny mosquito in this case, lurks in the background. While I suffered tremendously in the hospital, there was never a moment when I suspected dengue before I was admitted to the hospital.
My mother later told me after I had recovered that from whatever she’s know about dengue, my condition was still better. She told me about her cousin’s dengue a couple of years back and that her cousin’s platelet count went down to as low as 5,000, whereas in my case I showed signs of improvement soon and the lowest my platelet count went down was 15,000. Dengue may affect everyone differently, but take my word, it’s not a condition that you would want to look forward to as it takes a toll on your physical, mental and financial health.
While I was put on a liquid diet, by the time seventh day arrived, effects of dengue started receding. I was able to move to home after a final blood test confirmed that the platelet count had risen for better.
The recovery period for some can be quite drawn out especially the adults. From weeks to months, for most of the dengue patients, energy levels generally return to normal in about two to three months. Luckily, the period of recovery lasted four weeks for me. However, during these 4 weeks, there were moments where I was clearly out of breath even after minor exertion.
My advice, would be the age old adage of “Prevention is better than cure”. Take steps to ensure that there are no breeding grounds for mosquitos near your living or workplace, if possible, get a pest control done. And god forbid, if you do get Dengue, stay strong, eat healthy and take good rest to ensure a timely recovery.
--A dengue survivor
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