Getting admitted in the hospital is never easy, and it’s even worse when you’ve never had it in ages. The last time I was confined was when I gave birth to my son who is now turning 18 in a few months. As a nurse, I am very comfortable inside the hospital giving my health instructions, but to be in the receiving end is a whole new story.
Although the experience was devastating, the lessons should be carefully considered to benefit not just myself and my family, but also you who are reading this. I have taken note of all the lessons I learned from this experience and I hope you can pick up something worthwhile for yourself.
Things I Have Learned from my Second Episode of Dengue Fever:
The first time I had Dengue Fever was when I was 3 or 4 years old. Then I had typhoid fever, which is a family of Enteric Fever but from a different strain back when I was a nursing student 2 decades ago. I was admitted in the hospital on both occasions and in both episodes what was vivid in my memory was that I am not allowed to eat any dark colored foods. The reason being was that in both illnesses there is danger of bleeding. Here are my notes:
- Healthy living saved me from the worst complications: I was in the pink of health when this happened as I was eating healthy food choices and doing regular exercise. This means that my immune system was also working for me. Had I been in the worst condition, my recovery could have been longer and I could have bled profusely.
- Second cases of Dengue Fever can get worse than the first: I was told that I can never have the same strain of Dengue viral infection, which is not good because, a person who succumbs the first time develops antibodies. These antibodies remain dormant until a person gets another exposure to a different strain of Dengue. This means that my second infection could have been severe in terms of tendency to bleed and poor recovery.
- Dengue Fever can trigger other illnesses to surface: This explains why my Enteric Fever came in later.
- Healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and nutritious balanced diet boosts your immune system and aids your body to get rid of the virus and bacteria in no time. Viruses are self-limiting, meaning there is no cure, but a healthy body generates more antibodies to fight them off. Bacteria, on the other hand, needs antibiotics, but with a healthy immune system, the antibiotics work faster too.
- If you’ve had Dengue Fever before, avoid places where there are known cases. Have your insect repellant handy all the time.
- Careful handling of food is crucial, especially of eggs and chicken. Both typhoid fever and enteric fever are caused by salmonella infection from different species. A previous infection builds antibodies in your system that’s why exposure to even the smallest amount of the bacteria can trigger a speedy infection process.
- Salmonella can be seen in any food products but are commonly found in eggs and chicken. Handling tips: wash the eggs in running water before storing them in your fridge, crack eggs in a separate container, so if one is spoiled it cannot contaminate the others, throw a spoiled egg immediately and get a new container to crack the next ones.
- Hand washing as often as necessary can save you and your family from the horrors of having a disease.
- Buy chicken, eggs and other food products only from reliable sources.
WHO DHF Guidelines: http://www.who.int/tdr/publications/documents/dengue-diagnosis.pdf
Second Case of Dengue: http://www.antimicrobe.org/h04c.files/history/EIN-Sun%20Dengue.asp
Typhoid and Enteric Fever: Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th Edition