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How I Said Goodbye To Dengue Mosquitoes In My Home

We all have heard that in monsoons mosquito bite can cause dengue fever. We religiously follow all the dengue prevention tips in monsoons only. I did the same. Come monsoons and I would take special care to keep my house and surroundings clean and not allow any breeding grounds for dengue mosquitoes. With the onset of winters, the precautions for dengue would take a back seat because who sees mosquitoes in winters?!

 

Last year I remember the pleasant month of October when our family was busy with festivities. A week before Diwali, my hubby went to the airport to pick up his parents. We all had planned a big Diwali party at our home and everyone was equally excited about it. On the way back, my husband started feeling a little dizzy and feverish. My hubby thought that it must be due to tiredness and he went off to bed without having dinner. Next morning his temperature was quite high and everyone believed he must be under the weather. My mother-in-law gave him homemade kadha, I kept cold water strips on his head but nothing helped. A couple of days passed and my husband continued to feel dizzy and had high fever. On the 3rd day, elders of the house speculated that flu would subside and the fever would drop. But that entire night my husband couldn’t sleep. He made frequent visits to the toilet and kept twisting and turning in bed. The next day, we called a doctor early in the morning. He prescribed some tests and exclaimed that it looked like dengue fever symptoms. Everyone brushed him off. After all, who expects dengue fever in the last week of October when we were way past the monsoons in Delhi. Within 24 hours we received the reports and my husband was found positive for dengue fever. The symptoms were getting severe so the doctor suggested hospitalisation. He warned us to not trust instincts when it comes to health. My husband’s dengue fever symptoms could have been controlled had we got the tests done earlier.  

 

In the hospital, as I sat beside my husband, I wondered how I could have identified dengue fever symptoms earlier and avoided hospitalisation and so I made a list of symptoms to watch out for:

 

1. High Fever

The first symptoms of dengue is high fever. Fever as high as 102-104 deg F is not common flu. It can be dengue fever. The dengue fever really makes you uncomfortable. My husband has always been a strong man. Even with flu and mild fever, he had attended office. But this time it was different. He didn’t feel like moving from his bed. He just wanted to sleep and rest. Dengue fever symptoms appear 4-10 days after being bitten by the infected dengue mosquito and it is accompanied by atleast a couple of more symptoms.

2. Joint, bone or muscle pain

High fever accompanied by joint or muscle pain is an indicative symptom of dengue fever. My husband had little uneasiness in the body for the first couple of days of having dengue fever. But it got severe with each passing day and till by the time he was diagnosed he had started having acute pain in the elbows and knees. He became so weak that he wanted support to get up from the bed also. 

3. Stomach problems

My husband had disturbed bowel movements and it was nothing less than diarrhea. Some people suffering from dengue fever also pass stools with blood in it. It might go unnoticed, but it is better to keep a check on it if a person is suffering from high fever. Vomiting and feeling of nausea are also common symptoms of dengue fever.

4. Headache and pain behind the eyes

In any fever, the patient feels heaviness in the head. But in dengue fever I saw my husband getting shooting pains. Something similar to a migraine attack. Person suffering from dengue fever can also feel pain behind the eyes and would wish to sleep at all times of the day.

5. Rashes on the back, legs and arms

If a person has high fever and there is appearance of rashes on his/her body, then it is definitely serious and one should seek medical advice immediately. For my husband the rashes went unnoticed. He was literally lying in bed for 2 days, wearing full sleeves t-shirt. We all were living in a state of denial and nobody bothered to pull up his t-shirt and check for rashes. It was only when the doctor came, that we realized his back was full of red dots. They were not dengue mosquito bites. They were rashes and his back was full of them.

 

It was only when my husband was admitted for dengue fever, did we come to know that there is no vaccine or specific medication for dengue fever. WHO recommends taking rest and drinking loads of fluids to cure dengue fever. One should seek medical advice to prevent any complication. Internal bleeding is a common complication of dengue fever and blood in stools is a result of that. Platelet transfusions are given in such cases to avoid haemorrhagic complications.

 

Even in hospital, all the treatment for dengue fever was being given to relieve the pain, control the fever and avoid further complications. Few treatments given to my husband were:

 

  1. Pain relievers: Medicines were prescribed by doctors to subside the pain in head, joints and muscles that is caused by dengue fever.
  2. Intravenous Fluids: Since my husband had had a bout of diarhoea before the diagnosis of dengue, he was given intravenous fluids and electrolytes to replace the fluids lost through frequent stools.
  3. Liquid Diet: Loads of fluids is encouraged in the diet for quick recovery. My husband was kept on liquid diet throughout his stay in the hospital.

Usually, dengue fever is cured by this line of medication but in severe cases platelet transfusion might also be required. The fever usually lasts for 2-7 days but the period after the dengue fever subsides is the most crucial for people having Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever. Internal bleeding, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarhhoea, respiratory issues and difficulty in breathing are common after effects of dengue haemorrhagic fever. If it goes untreated then it can be life-threatening. Thankfully my husband was released from hospital in 3 days’ time. My husband didn’t have fever but he still felt very weak. Doctor prescribed a healthy diet for him and loads of rest to recover from dengue fever completely.

 

It was distressing to know that there is no specific treatment for dengue fever. At the time of release, doctor warned me that a mosquito bite can cause dengue fever in any month of the year. Probability of having dengue fever reduces in winters because of slow breeding rates of mosquitoes at low temperatures. But it is never zero. The mosquito responsible for transmitting dengue is a daytime feeder. Its peak biting periods are early in the morning or in the evening before sunset. And hence, it is imperative to take necessary precautions for dengue fever. In case of dengue fever, prevention is better than cure. Hence, I promised myself to religiously follow all the dengue prevention tips all year round and keep my family safe from mosquito bites and the resultant diseases like dengue, malaria and chikungunya.

 

  1. Using nets and meshes on the doors and windows prevents mosquitoes from entering the house. Keep the windows and doors closed in early morning and evening to keep the mosquitoes away. Regularly repair the holes in window mesh to avoid entry of mosquitoes. 
  2. Use a trusted mosquito killer spray at home. I trust Kala HIT and spray it in the dark corners of my home like behind the curtains and cupboards, under the beds and tables, in the washrooms and store room. Godrej Kala HIT spray effectively killsmosquitoes that cause deadly diseases like dengue fever, chikungunya and malaria. The mosquito killer spray reaches the deepest corners of the house and instantly kills all the flying insects especially mosquitoes. Regularly spraying Kala HIT Lime keeps my house safe from mosquitoes and leaves a refreshing smell behind.
  3. Don’t allow water to stagnate as it is a breeding ground for the dengue mosquitoes. The dengue mosquito can fly as far as 400m to lay eggs in water-filled containers. But these mosquitoes prefer to stay close to human habitation. So cover, clean and empty all the personal water storage containers on a weekly basis. 
  4. Dengue cannot spread from an infected person to another person directly. However a person suffering from dengue fever can infect other mosquitoes. These infected mosquitoes can bite a healthy person and cause dengue in them. So when we came back home from the hospital I made sure to spray Kala HIT around the house and keep mosquitoes away. Avoiding a mosquito bite is the easiest way to stay safe from dengue fever.
  5. Wear full-sleeve clothes and socks when moving out for morning or evening walks. 
  6. Sleep in air conditioned rooms if possible. Incidence of mosquito bites in air conditioned room is lesser and also they are sealed to avoid entry of mosquitoes.
  7. Babies and kids should especially be taken care of. Kids should be made to sleep under mosquito nets and place cushions around their bed, so that they don't move to the corner of the bed and stick to the mosquito net. This way the mosquitoes will easily pierce through the skin and bite your kid. 
  8. Tight body fitting clothes should be avoided. When mosquito sits on tight clothes, it can easily get access to your skin by piercing through the layer of cloth. 
  9. Keep the wet garbage separately in a closed bin. Keep the lid covered always to avoid it from becoming the breeding ground for dengue mosquitoes.
  10. Keeping the house clean and tidy is important but it is equally important to keep your community clean. Keep a check on your surroundings if there is stagnant water in pot holes, gardens, drains etc. If you notice stagnant water standing for more than a week then inform your residence welfare association or the nearest municipal corporation and get it dried at the earliest. Keeping community clean is imperative for the health of your family and community at large. 

 

Though dengue fever lasts a few days, the after effects of dengue are severe. Dengue fever takes a toll on ones immunity and my husband had to suffer for a while even after his recovery. Some side-effects my husband suffered from after recovering from dengue fever are:

  1. Weakened immunity: Dengue fever took a severe toll on my husband's immune system, because of which he had frequent bouts of cold after that. He also started feeling weak and tired. So I took special care of his diet and encouraged him to do some yoga and stay fit. 
  2. Joint, bone and muscle pain: It is a common symptom of dengue. But it stays even after recovering from dengue fever. This might be due to vitamin and mineral deficiency which makes the condition even worse. Some vitamin supplements were prescribed to my husband and he had to get blood tests done after recovery, to check for vitamin deficiencies.
  3. Anxiety and stress: Because of weakness and joint pains my husband was unable to carry on with his routine work for a month after recovery from dengue fever. This made him really stressed and anxious.  The inability to carry out  routinework took a toll on his mental health and as a family we had to take special care of him. 

 

Prevention of dengue is the best way to stay safe from dengue and its repercussions. Spray Kala HIT around your home regularly and keep your surroundings clean. Our plight with dengue fever was stressful and I hope you all will take necessary preventive measures and stay safe and healthy all the year round.

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