Dengue Fever - Describe Your Experience

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Please describe your experience with dengue fever. What, if any, were the prevention steps you took, as there is no vaccine?

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What is dengue fever?

Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. It is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy), and rash. The presence of fever, itchy rash, and headache (the "dengue triad") is characteristic of dengue. Other signs of dengue fever include bleeding gums, severe pain behind the eyes, and red palms and soles.

Picture of Aedes albopictus mosquito
Picture of Aedes albopictus mosquito

Dengue (pronounced DENG-gay) can affect anyone but tends to be more severe in people with compromised immune systems. Because it is caused by one of five serotypes the dengue virus, it is possible to get dengue fever multiple times. However, an attack of dengue produces immunity for a lifetime to that particular viral serotype to which the patient was exposed.

Dengue goes by other names, including "breakbone fever" or "dandy fever." Victims of dengue often have contortions due to the intense joint, muscle, and bone pain, hence the name breakbone fever. Slaves in the West Indies who contracted dengue were said to have dandy fever because of their postures and gait.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a more severe form of the viral illness. Symptoms include headache, fever, rash, and evidence of hemorrhage in the body. Petechiae (small red spots or purple splotches or blisters under the skin), bleeding in the nose or gums, black stools, or easy bruising are all possible signs of hemorrhage. This form of dengue fever can be life-threatening and can progress to the most severe form of the illness, dengue shock syndrome.

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Comment from: Karen, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 25

My symptoms of dengue started 7 days ago with severe body aches and a dull fever lasting 2 days. On day 3 it went away only to return on day 4 with higher intensity and fever was high with extreme chills, body ache, fatigue (limbs felt like lead) and headache. My platelet count on day 4 was 191000. I started drinking raw papaya leaf extract. On day 5 and 6 the symptoms persisted but did not get worse, although I developed itchiness in hands and feet, nausea and diarrhea. It is now day 7, I am going to get another blood test, but all in all, I feel slightly better. I think it's the papaya leaf.

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Comment from: Sam, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 29

I recently moved to Costa Rica. One morning after three weeks of being there I got up and suddenly felt very tired and had to sit down. Within a few hours I was getting chills and was extremely weak. The fever got worse and I had a severe headache, as well aches and pain in my joints. By the third day my fever was even higher and I was confined to my bed unable to focus on any task. I was lucky that my wife suspected that it was dengue and started me on a 'dengue shake' made up of 1 medium fresh papaya leaf, about 10 black grapes, 10 raw almonds, juice of two oranges and a teaspoon of raw honey all blended together and gave me every morning. She also gave me echinacea and a multi vitamin. All this helped and by day five my fever was gone but I still felt weak and I had extreme night sweating, so bad that I would wake up in the middle of the night with my sheets all drenched with sweat; and I mean really wet. On day eight and after the second blood test which showed that my platelets where back up to 120,000 from 76,000 I started to feel much better. I did get itchy feet and hands but luckily no rash. I did also lose a lot of weight.

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