You’ve heard the old saying that the pen is mightier than the sword, right? Well, over the past several weeks, I have come to find out that the mosquito may just be mightier than either the sword or the pen. Because of a mosquito, I have been sick for three weeks already. And, when I say sick, I am not just saying that I didn’t feel well, I have been seriously ill.
Three weeks ago, I thought I had a cold. I had sniffles, a slight fever and a sore throat. It took a week or so, but it passed. For a couple of days, I felt OK. Weak, but OK. Then, I had a couple of events to attend to one day – a breakfast with a friend, and then lunch with another friend the same day. By the end of the day, I was so tired and weak that I could hardly even stand up! I figured that I was not quite over my cold yet, and had overexerted myself.
After this overexertion, I had a higher fever, and was very, very weak. It had been years since I had felt this sick. I don’t get sick too often, but when I do, it tends to be somewhat serious. Well, this time, as it turned out, it was quite serious. I found out that what I had was not a common cold, but rather, I had Dengue Fever. I should say, I have Dengue Fever, as I am still sick as I type this.
The next thing that happened was rather strange… I suddenly broke out with a whole bunch of red dots on my legs, and a few on my chest and face. I wondered if it was measles or something, but I’ve already had that when I was a child. I saw a doctor, and he told me that it was not measles, but rather, I was in the final stages of Dengue.
So, right now, the disease has passed, for the most part. It can take weeks, even months, though, to regain your strength after going through Dengue Fever, so I still have a ways to go before I am feeling normal again. It’s a tough disease, and it really saps you of all of your strength! Sometimes, you have so little strength that it is all you can do to just stand up. Doing anything more than that can seem almost impossible.
What are the symptoms of dengue?
Well, there are many symptoms, and you may have some or all, it just varies. For me, it started out with severe headache, cough, sore throat and sniffles. I only had a minor fever, although the next week my fever was higher, but still not severe. Also, I experienced some nausea and stomach discomfort. Like I said, the red dots on my skin too, which were very numerous. Pain behind my eyes was quite severe, like a lot of pressure behind the eyes.
With these symptoms, I first thought I had a cold. Later, I knew it was too severe for a cold, and I thought I might have H1N1, Swine Flu. Truth is, I think that Swine Flu, from what I’ve heard and read, is probably a lot milder than Dengue is, though.
What are the treatments of dengue?
Truth is, there are no treatments for dengue, officially. No type of medicine will cure it. There are “folk” remedies, though. I have been using two. Firstly, my friend, AmericanLola e-mailed me to tell me that one thing that is helpful is to make a juice by crushing the leaves of a papaya tree, which I’ve been doing. It is some bitter stuff, but I drink it by the shot glass! I don’t know if it works or not, but I’m trying it. Another folk treatment is to make a tea from tawa tawa, a weed. I did that once, and drank part of it. I really didn’t like the stuff, though.
How do you catch dengue?
As far as I know, there is only one way to catch Dengue Fever, and that is from a mosquito bite. It is from a certain type of mosquito, not just any mosquito. This type of mosquito bites during the day, which I am told others don’t. Also, only the female mosquito bites, which I never knew before.
While I cannot be certain, I believe that I may have picked up the virus when I visited Dinagat Island a few weeks ago. I say this because I got sick about 4 days or so after I got back, so it would seem logical that I got the bite either on the Island, or perhaps on the bus while I was traveling. That said, it is only my guess, and I could have just as easily picked it up right here in Davao, I just don’t know for certain. I have no memory of being bitten by any mosquitoes, but it must have happened.
Dengue is not contagious, so one person cannot pass it to another. You only get it from the bite of this certain mosquito. I am thankful that I was not able to pass it along to anybody else in the family.
If you are visiting the Philippines, or any other tropical area in the world, I would recommend that you avoid mosquitoes at all possible cost. Use some kind of mosquito repellent to keep them away from you too. Believe me, you don’t want to catch Dengue! It has proven to be a very uncomfortable sickness, and I hope you can avoid it – I wouldn’t wish this upon anybody.
Oh, if you are thinking of getting a shot to immunize yourself against dengue… don’t even bother. There is no immunization against dengue. The only way you can prevent the disease is by not getting bitten by any mosquitoes.