|aedes aegypti, the primary vector for dengue (from internet)|
Of the two, dengue can be more treacherous and even fatal. According to a WHO impact report, the incidence of dengue in the last 50 years, has increased 30-fold. The report stated "An estimated 2.5 billion people live in over 100 endemic countries and areas where dengue viruses can be transmitted. Up to 50 million infections occur annually with 500,000 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever and 22,000 deaths mainly among children."
|my bedside companion|
As for me, I really have no idea where I got bitten. The incubation period of dengue takes 4 to 10 days and symptoms develop 3 to 14 days after. It was Dra. Rosete, our office clinic doctor who warned me to go to the hospital right away if my fever doesn't subside and to have my blood tested for both dengue and chikungunya.
|friends cheered me up (photo from Lilo Gutierrez)|
So the very next day, on October 19, shivering and feverish, I went to St. Luke's pathology department for a
complete blood count and to test for Dengue NS1. The initial finding for Dengue NS1 Antigen was negative. Seeing that my platelet count was relatively low at 170,000 (the normal count is 150,000 to 400,000) and my fever was 40.9, the doctor recommended that I be confined in the hospital for further observation.
For three days, my fever was hovering between 40.1 to 40.9 and my platelet count was steadily dropping. When the fever broke, rashes appeared and the platelet count started declining rapidly to 99,000... up to 46,400. That's when my attending physician, Dr. Popeye, confirmed it was dengue. I was on standby for blood transfusion in case my platelet count dropped to 10,000.
|this made my day|
Warning to all, the Aedes mosquitoes are out there and prevalent throughout the day when the sun is out. This is contrary to hearsay, that they are out during twilight hours - this is, dawn or dusk. Believe me, dengue is truly debilitating. I was confined in the hospital for a week and it took me more than two weeks to recover.
Here are three tips to avoid dengue - (1) Use insect repellent regularly I actually prefer using citronella, a natural insect repellent than those containing DEET and other chemicals. If I venture to unusual places, I put the insect repellant stickers on my clothing for added protection; (2) Get rid of all water-holding containers in your home, patio, garage and garden including your pet's water bowl. That's where the mosquitoes lay their eggs; and (3) Strengthen your immune system by eating well, logging 7 to 8 hours of sleep, exercising and drinking lots of water. According to the doctor, my immune system must have been compromised and thus, vulnerable to dengue.