A mosquito-borne viral infection, dengue fever has become a pandemic problem in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. The viral infection causes symptoms similar to flu and may develop into a potentially lethal complication. Some of the common dengue symptoms include high fever, joint ache, nausea, headache, a rash that appears and disappears, and severe pain in the eyes. Symptoms may start to show up in 2 weeks after a dengue mosquito bite. In severe cases of viral infection, dengue symptoms may develop into intense stomach pain, bleeding nose or gums, nausea, hemorrhagic fever, severely aching muscles and joints, damaged lymph and blood vessels, and even death.
Common symptoms may be mistaken for viral flu. However, when symptoms turn severe, dengue fever could progress to intense bleeding, drastically low blood platelet count, leaking blood vessels, disorientation, failure of the circulatory system, and liver enlargement.
Dengue Fever Causes
Dengue virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes. The same mosquito species also transmits yellow fever, chikungunya, and Zika. The virus breeds in the tropics and finds conditions conducive for proliferation, such as high temperature, rainfall, and unplanned rapid urbanization. There are 4 distinct dengue virus strains (DEN-1-4). Recovery from strain does not make you immune to other serotypes. In fact, someone who has been a dengue fever victim once is at a risk of other dengue strains.
Humans can easily get dengue fever through the bites of infected mosquitoes that take 4-10 days for incubation. Dengue symptoms may last for up to 7 days, following an incubation period after the mosquito bite. An infected human becomes the main carrier of the virus. After a bite from an infected mosquito and the incubation period, an infected human becomes a multiplier and a virus source for uninfected mosquitoes. This means a dengue patient can transmit the infection during the period the virus is active in their blood. When a mosquito bites an infected person, the virus is passed on to another person that the mosquito bites.
Unfortunately, the dengue fever vector is highly adaptive and can tolerate temperatures lower than the freezing point.
Home Remedies for Dengue Fever
Although there is no specific treatment for dengue, early detection, proper clinical diagnosis and medical care, and preventative dengue home remedies can help lower the fatality rate.
- Garlic spray
Garlic has a pungent smell that can drive away mosquitoes. It is easy to make this remedy for dengue fever. Add a few minced garlic cloves in water. Boil the concoction and spray all around. The strong smell of garlic might help repel mosquitoes.
- Stagnant water
Dengue mosquito breeds in clean, standing water, especially in man-made containers. These mosquitoes breed in watered-flower pots, unattended buckets, and other places where there is stagnant water. The peak biting periods of the mosquito are early morning and evening before dusk. So keep your surroundings clean and unclogged. Remove excess water from pot plates. Cover any traps that are unused. Make sure there is no standing water in the surroundings or in your patio. Scrub containers to ensure there are no mosquito eggs. Check scupper drains for any blockage. Avoid keeping potted plants and any other object over them. Avoid placing receptacles under an air-conditioner. Rinse flower vases every other day.
- Prevent dehydration
Since blood platelet count may drop drastically in dengue fever and vomiting can dehydrate the body, it is critically important to keep your body hydrated. Tender coconut water, fruit juice, and strained papaya leaf water are highly effective home remedies for dengue. Drink clean bottled water and take rehydration salts at regular intervals to help the body replace fluids and minerals. Water will help flush out toxins from the body that can otherwise complicate dengue symptoms. However, for severe forms of dengue, a patient may need intravenous (IV) fluid supplementation, as he is weak enough to take fluids by mouth.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you should keep your skin covered by wearing full-sleeve shirts, long pants, and socks. You must keep your legs, arms, and feet covered because these are the most vulnerable parts of your body to a mosquito bite.
- Papaya leaves
Papaya offers a natural cure for most dengue symptoms. It is enriched with nutrients and organic compounds that are known to elevate your platelet count. Additionally, papaya is rich in vitamin C that can help boost and stimulate your immune system. You can prepare a concoction by straining and boiling papaya leaves in water. Or you can simply strain leaves and drink the pure juice for an antioxidant boost.
- Neem leaves
Neem (Azadirachta indica) is an ancient herb. Steeping a few neem leaves and drinking the brew can help boost immunity and your fight against dengue virus. Neem can help improve white blood cells and platelet count, which may otherwise drop drastically in a dengue patient. Properly brewed neem leaves are one of the most effective dengue home remedies.
Another most effective home remedy for dengue fever, Giloy is an immunity booster. Also known as the root of immortality, Tinospora cordifolia or Giloy is a powerhouse of antioxidants. Both the stem and root of the creeper can be put to use as a medicinal aid in dengue recovery. Boil a couple of Giloy stems and strain the concoction. Take this juice at least two times a day for better immunity.
- Wheatgrass/barley grass
Barley grass and wheatgrass are two of the most popular home remedies for dengue fever. Enriched with nutrients and minerals, wheatgrass and barley grass boost the immune system. It also stimulates healthy cell production that promotes hemoglobin, increases platelet count, improves metabolism.