Lest we forget, there are other infections and diseases we have to be aware of and be prepared for. The changing seasons usually bring in the nasty critters or crawlers that bite and inject toxic substances into our skins. One that comes to mind I will call the big D for dengue.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne illness that occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. That sounds like our place.
Mild dengue fever causes a high fever, 40°C that is off and on, and flu-like symptoms. Other symptoms are headache; muscle, bone; or joint pain; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; pain behind the eyes; swollen glands, and rash.
The severe form of dengue fever, on the other hand, which is also called dengue hemorrhagic fever, can cause serious bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock), and even death. The warning signs are severe stomach pain; persistent vomiting; bleeding from your gums or nose; blood in your urine, stools, or vomit; bleeding under the skin, which might look like bruising; difficult or rapid breathing; fatigue; and irritability or restlessness. This is not something you can just ignore. Those who reach the bleeding stage more often don’t make it. I know, I have had dengue four times already.
Every year there are millions of cases of dengue infection that occur worldwide. It is most common in Southeast Asia, the western Pacific islands, Latin America and Africa. Lately, there have been reports that the disease has been spreading to new areas, including local outbreaks in Europe and southern parts of the United States. It is also becoming a global threat.
The best ways to prevent infection are to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take steps to reduce the mosquito population.
It has been documented that blood group AB is associated with the severity of dengue infection. I’m type B!
Growing up I was teased as being “rich,” or “mayaman.” We grew up comfortable but those who called me so were referring to the veinticinco-, diez-, and cinco-sized scars on my legs. Mosquitos love me that much. And how I hate them!
My first face-to-face dengue encounter was in 1996 or ‘97. I was in grade one and it wasn’t called dengue then but H-fever. I was transfused with a bag of plasma and was so scared. I thought that was the end of me.
To protect my precious legs, I was made to wear knee-high socks, it was later when insect repellant skin lotions came out. I have been hospitalized more than a few times and when it’s dengue, it felt like, para siyang parusa ng langit sa akin.
So what are the things to do when you catch dengue or it caught you?
Eat and keep hydrated. Paracetamol is the medicine to control fever. It’s a phase you would hope to pass quickly. You will lose appetite, so if you can, just eat everything and anything you can think of. With the dengue I had in 2012, all I wanted was Jellyace, juices, and Ice cream.
Gatorade, Pocari Sweat, and Hydrite helps too but be careful, reflux or acidic stomach usually results from too many energy drinks.
As far as I know, there isn’t any medical explanation and verification of tawa-tawa as an effective cure but my co-teacher then Tiang Melba Talabis had the utility guys in the school pick all tawa-tawa plants and made me tea in the culinary kitchen where I used to teach. The concoction was sent to the UST hospital where I was confined. I drank over 3 liters of that concoction and my platelets started going up again.
It has terrible taste. However, given that situation, you’d do anything to get well.
For prevention, keep your areas free from clutter, keep your surroundings clean, no stagnant water, etc. Have your guns with you all the time. Especially if you know you’re lamukin. I don’t know about the patch you stick on your shirt if that works but here are my dengue weapons.
human nature’s Bug Shield lotion and oil
This work 100%! You can watch the mosquitos fly away from you when you have it applied to your skin. The only problem is the oiliness. If you can get over it then it’s a great product. It has a lotion alternative and non-oil-based spray too. You might want to try that if you don’t like the oily feel.
Bite Block’s Bug Shield oil spray and lotion
I think this is the best product in the market today. It also works 100%! And the best part is it dries up without leaving any wet, oily, or sticky feeling on your skin. There is also a lotion version available.
This the most popular brand. I’m sure it works, I just don’t like the stickiness.
Of course, prevention is always better than cure. So if you know you’re lamukin, act on it.
See you in our next issue!
Chef Chris Lachenal strives to elevate Filipino cuisine and revive dishes that are slowly losing popularity. A former chef instructor, he emphasized the importance of understanding the process of things in order to grasp refinement in food. As a chef-for-hire he satisfies his clients, always. He is the creative and passionate soul behind FoodCreations by CCL.