Suffering from fever for days, I was led to the emergency ward of a renowned hospital in Delhi. Enjoying rains like everyone else was my only fault, relishing the fresh drops of water on my face; falling ill hadn’t once never crossed my mind. As I lay questioning my intelligence, my parents were faced the doctors faced my parents with questions regarding our attention towards mosquito protection or mosquito repellents. They asked whether I had taken any aspirin based medicine, as they can deeply worsen the condition.
While I struggled with the thermometer I paid close attention to the doctor narrating the rise in mosquito diseases, especially Dengue cases in the country. As the nurse swiftly questioned and checked me for all the symptoms, namely – As alarming as it sounded, I wasn’t moved until he mentioned the various effects it has on the human body, and finally the death toll.
The nurse swiftly began questioning and searching me for other symptoms, around me were posters that educated me thoroughly enough. Symptoms like fever, headache, muscle and joint pains and a skin rash that resembled measles. A poster stared me and pointed that I soon noticed a poster educating about Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, a result of Dengue, that causes bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or perhaps into Dengue Shock Syndrome, where the blood pressure of the person falls dangerously low!
I was to scream in horror if any of those were close to occurrence. Symptoms matched, but not all. I gave a blood test, which even though I was against, was the only way to determine my condition. I borrowed my brother’s phone and searched online about mosquito diseases, the hazards and mosquito control.
As I sat outside with my elder brother, I searched online to learn more about Dengue.
80% affected face only mild symptoms like fever, while the rest suffer severe illness, including life threatening circumstances. Dengue surfaces in 3-14 days, hence it isn’t easy to determine the cause for the fever, vomiting, body aches unless a blood test is conducted. 80% people with Dengue Virus have mild symptoms such fever, 5% have severe illness and the rest suffer from life-threatening circumstances. Dengue being a tricky ailment exposes symptoms within a range of 3-14 days. So if you are a frequent traveler returning from an infected area, it may be a week since you realize that you have been infected.
My mother sat next to me, and began the crash course in mosquito diseases and their symptoms. Dengue usually causes a headache and fever that lasts 2-7 days, vomiting may occur. A rash (the one that resembles measles) may occur too, although it surfaces only in 50-80% of the cases. On our way home, my mother who wished to leave only after a detailed discussion with the doctor educated me further on the ailment. My brother listened hesitantly. Dengue usually causes headache and pain that generally lasts from 2 – 7 days. Vomiting may occur. A rash (one that resembles measles) may occur. The chance of its occurrence if one has been infected by the virus is 50-80%. Some petechie (Small red or purple spots that appear on the surface of the skin during tiny haemorrhages, like in Typhoid Fever) may appear. Mild bleeding from mouth and nose can also occur.
Fever may arise and fade away, but tends to return in case you are indeed infected by the virus.
The doctors called my mother, so I continued my research. Dengue can affect many body systems. It can cause a decreased level of consciousness, as the brain can be affected by the virus, or a vital organ (like the liver) being impaired. Once home, I continued my search online, only to learn that Dengue is unlike normal fevers, it can affect many body systems. A person may face decreased level of consciousness (it occurs in 0. 5 – 6%severe cases) which can be caused by the brain being infected by the virus or as a result of a vital organ being impaired, like the liver. Neurological disorders aren’t too distant from the ailment, such as Transverse Myelitis and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Infection of the heart and acute liver failure are among the rarer complications.
My illness could have been mistaken for Dengue. Just like most viral infections.
A week had passed. I had been cleared. No Dengue. As there is no given cure for dengue, the most important aspect is to remember to eliminate all habitats for best mosquito protection. So I set out to empty all containers of water or add insecticides or a biological control agent to the areas. Clearing all places where water has been accumulated is although preferred as insecticides and other control agents can have negative effects.
I applied mosquito repellent and searched, my home was already clear. Soon I learnt that my brother had done the needful. Guess that’s what families are for!