Dengue and the Mozzie Wipeout

We have a situation in Singapore. Dengue Fever is on a high, the number of people down with this mosquito-borne viral disease is at 13,049 as of 16 July 2013! And sadly, it has claimed four lives as of today.

Dengue affects me. When I read the stats, I think of my husband. I get worried. You see, Edmund had Dengue twice and the 2nd time was much worse than the first. The doctors said so too. Just how bad was his Dengue experience?

First Dengue in 2008

He complained of body aches, but we never guessed. We thought it was stress related and sent him for massages. Then he was really lethargic and tired. He had a mild fever (just under 38C) and no other symptoms.

We went to see a GP and he immediately suspected Dengue. Edmund took a blood test and it’s confirmed! The treatment was:

  • Go home and rest. Keep fever down
  • Go back to the clinic daily for Dengue Tests

After a week, he got an all-clear. But he was still tired for another week or so.

Second Dengue in 2012

Edmund had a high fever for a couple of days. Instead of self-medicating, we went to see a doctor cos it was just a few days before a holiday…We wanted him to get better quick. Well, turned out it was the best decision we made!

He took a blood test, it was confirmed Dengue. He was hospitalised. The next day, the platelet count dipped. We transferred him to another hospital to see a Haematologist (blood specialist). The platelet continued to drop, and his fever continued to climb.

It was worrying. What if he starts haemorrhaging? I’ve heard stories of Dengue patients peeing out blood, gums bleeding when brushing teeth, blood spilling out of the ears etc. It was scary. The doctor said there’s no treatment. Just close monitoring, drip to keep the fever down. It took a week before his platelet went back to normal. But he couldn’t go home!

The virus hit some part of his heart, and affect his blood pressure. It was a permanent low. He couldn’t sit up for long cos it made him dizzy. He couldn’t walk far, cos it made him tired. The doctor got a Neurologist to see him (suspecting some nerve was affected) and a Cardiologist (some heart function). However, both doctors couldn’t find anything even after various tests.

Edmund finally discharged after two weeks. The Blood Pressure improved, but was still on the low side. And he was still feeling lethargic when he went home. It took perhaps another three weeks before he was back to his normal self.

Dengue is a virus. It can be a simple case of high fever, body aches and rashes. Or it can cause you to haemorrhage and bleed to death. Or it can hit any random nerve in your body and affect regular body functions. And all this from that little mozzie bite!

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Now you know why we are so concerned when we read the Dengue stats. It is now so widespread that it’s not difficult to find a Singaporean who knows someone who has had Dengue. Ironically, it’s when it gets so personal, that one would take more serious precautions to prevent mosquito breeding.

Recently, we were invited to attend the Dengue Prevention Volunteer Training Workshop. It was an eye-opener! I mean, we all know any container that collects water is THE potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. But did you know, you don’t need a big container? Just a 20 cent coin size of still water works!

Let me test you. Did you know:

  • The Aedes mosquito is active in the DAY, while the regular mosquito lives by the night.
  • The common breeding grounds (really common and we know all about it) vs the unusual breeding grounds. Take a look:

Aedes Breeding Spot

  • If you do find larvae in any of the breeding spots, it is VITAL to pour away the water and scrub the spot clean. That’s because the eggs can lie dormant in dry conditions for up to about nine months, after which they can hatch if exposed to favourable conditions, i.e. water and food

After hearing this, we are even more sure that everyone has to play a part. Please, join us to fight dengue. You can read more about what you can do and how you can help here or join the community on Facebook to fight the mozzies together. You can get updates on Dengue in your neighbourhood as well! It helps to prevent Dengue.

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