Common dengue fever myths you need to know

The monsoon and mosquitoes go hand in hand. Dengue fever is spreading rapidly in the Indian capital, according to a new report. The report released by Delhi Municipality revealed that more than 160 dengue fever cases have been reported in the capital till mid-July 2023. It is alarming as it is the highest for this period since 2018, according to a PTI report. Many people have a lot to say about this vector-borne disease, but not all of them are facts. Read on to learn more about common dengue fever myths.

To debunk dengue fever myths, Health Shots contacted Dr Nikhil S Kulkarni, MD Fellowship of American College of Physician and Infectious Disease Specialist, KJ Somaiya Hospital and Research Center, Mumbai.

Let’s bust some dengue myths. Image provided by: Shutterstock

What is dengue fever?

When it starts to rain, many mosquitoes come out and play. There is now a type of mosquito, the Aedes, that can bite you or your family and cause dengue fever. These mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, which is why we are always told to clean up our surroundings. Dr. Kulkarni says 80 percent of infections can be asymptomatic. But there are some symptoms like sudden onset of high fever, headache and body aches, pain behind eyes, abdominal pain, bleeding gums or nose, vomiting, lethargy and the confusion.

Dengue fever myths

The monsoon proves to be a favorable condition for mosquito breeding. This leads to an increase in their population. The expert explains that during the monsoon, rainwater is collected in many places and Aedes mosquitoes breed in this stagnant water. Although this is true, there are many myths surrounding dengue fever.

Myth 1: Dengue fever can spread easily from person to person.

Do: Dr Kulkarni says it is not transmitted from person to person as it is caused by the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes.

Myth 2: Only Aedes aegypti mosquitoes transmit dengue.

Do: Although Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are the main contributor to dengue, other species like Aedes albopictus can also transmit dengue virus.

Myth 3: A platelet transfusion is needed every time you get dengue fever.

Do: The normal number of platelets is between 150,000 and 410,000, but in the case of dengue, it can drop to a level of (50,000 to 150,000) on the fourth or fifth day of illness. Platelet transfusion is only done if the platelet count drops below 10,000 or there are signs of bleeding.

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Myth 4: Platelets can only be increased by platelet transfusions.

Do: Platelets can also be increased naturally. You can try these methods to increase your platelets at home:

• Have papaya leaf extract, which contains ALOX-12 enzyme. It naturally stimulates the formation of platelets, specifies the expert.
• Correct dehydration with ORS, coconut water or pomegranate juice.
• A folate-rich diet is necessary, so eat oranges, kiwis, cranberries, papayas, tomatoes or dragon fruit.
• Foods like whole grains and asparagus are also helpful.

Dengue fever diet
Recover faster and better with the Dengue Diet. Image provided by: Shutterstock

Myth 5: You can eat without restriction during illness.

Do: If you or your loved one has dengue, it is important to follow a certain diet and avoid certain foods. For example, they cannot eat fatty foods. Fried or greasy foods contain a lot of fat, which can lead to high blood pressure and weaken the immune system.

Tips to Prevent Dengue

There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from dengue fever.

• It’s time to say goodbye to standing water.
• Destroy mosquito habitats by keeping the area clean and using an insecticide.
• Wear clothes that cover most parts of the body.
• Use a mosquito net and repellents.
• Eat foods rich in vitamin C and folate.

There is no effective vaccine or medication for dengue fever, so it is best to focus on preventive measures.

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