From my travels to India, I had heard of Dengue fever. I wasn’t really sure what it was but I knew you got it from a mosquito bite like malaria and that I didn’t want to get it, ever. That was about the extent of my knowledge.
The middle of December Ken and I got a full education on Dengue fever the bad way. We both got it.
We have seen posters all around the island on how to help prevent the spread of Dengue. They are on buses and billboards everywhere. I have read about not allowing standing water and to be careful of plants. I have seen all of those things, heard of sites you can visit to seen where confirmed cases where on the island but didn’t really think it would get us. We used bug spray if we went out in the evening and we are on the fifth floor of our complex and have many little lizards who live around our flat so we rarely see bugs or mosquitoes.
What we learned is that there is only one type of mosquito Aedes mosquito-that carries dengue. It is only carried by the female and she has to have bitten someone with dengue to pass it on to someone else. The thing is they only bite during the day. Usually within a couple of hours of sun rise and dusk. So evening we are usually prepared but not sunrise. We really hadn’t thought of that one. The other thing is that it can take 7-14 days to show up after you are bit. Many times the bite is long gone so you aren’t even sure when it happened.
The middle of December Ken woke up with a high fever, a horrible headache, and all over ache. We were a bit worried and sent him to the doctor and was told that they thought he had picked up some sort of bug while he was on business the week before in Jakarta. His fever remained and so did the pain so after two days we took him back. It was recommend he go to the emergency room to be tested for malaria. After testing he was confirmed with Dengue or break bone fever. He had the fever and the aches and pains but didn’t develop the rash that many get that’s why dengue wasn’t the first thing the doctor thought.
Everyone can have a few different ailments with Dengue. The fever is there, some cases more serve and lasts longer, tummy upset, the pain is intense (you feel as if your bones are actually breaking), rash, headache. The other thing it effects is your blood platelets and that’s the thing they look at when you go to the doctors.
One of the big problems with Dengue is there is no vaccine and no antibotic. The only thing you can have is pain killers and rest to bring your platelet count back up. They even have to watch what they give you because anything that effects your blood you can’t take. So you lay there in pain and misery knowing that the worse of it takes 7-10 days till you feel half way normal. It really is miserable.
Ken suffered for five days (his platelet count dropped very low) when I started with the fever. Since you can’t catch it from another person directly, we hadn’t been worried the girls or I would get it. Apparently we were both bitten around the same time but mine took longer to come out. Luckily Ken was well on the way to recovery by the time I started. Boy did I start. I got it all. The super high fever that lasted for days, the rash that looked as if I had been burned even on my hands and feet, the upset tummy, the pain all of it. My platelets didn’t fall as much as Ken’s but my symptoms were so much worse. In fact, I wasn’t able to fly back with Ken and the girls for Christmas. I had to wait four days before I could follow but luckily made before Christmas day.
Now that we have had it we do have a little immunity towards that strand but there are four different strands of dengue and we can get any of the other three and have been told the symptoms would be much worse the next time.
I can honestly say it was the most miserable sickness I have ever had, one I wouldn’t wish on anyone, ever. We are both much better now with a little lingering tiredness and aches but so much better.
So spray up and protect yourselves out there especially if you are anywhere near a dengue area!