Top 5 Dengue Myths You Should Know

8:12 AM

DENGUE, Dengue, now, everyone in Malaysia should know about Dengue fever. It’s been all over the news. It’s been around in Malaysia for so long. Ask any Tom, Dick and Harry and they will know something about Dengue.

However, there are hundreds of myths around regarding Dengue fever. It’s been made worse by the proliferation of bogus doctors, CURING Dengue fever with their miracle medicines.

Let’s explore the common myths on Dengue. For health professionals, I suggest reading Episode I: The Dengue Menace.

1.  I will get Dengue after being bitten by ALL mosquitoes

The Dengue virus is only transmitted by FEMALE Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Its the Zebra like mosquito! These infected mosquitoes are called VECTORS as they carry around blood infected with Dengue viruses. The Aedes mosquitoes will only be able to transmit the viruses after it has bitten an infected human. Thus, it is paramount for anyone that has Dengue fever to avoid contact with these mosquitoes. Try not to go out at dawn or dusk and wear clothes that cover the skin as much as possible.Currently my family and I use Pureen's Rekito mosquito repellent. I've been using it for a year and it's been doing a good job.

Pureen's mosquito repellent

2. Dengue fever is a disease affecting platelets

Dengue is a dynamic disease. The drop in platelet count is not due to the virus itself but is due to the disease process. It's our body's own response towards the virus. Patients don't usually die because of thrombocytopenia (low platelet) but due to PLASMA LEAKAGE. Plasma leakage occurs when fluids in the blood stream are channeled elsewhere resulting in low blood pressure, reduced blood flow to vital organs and fluids in the abdomen and lungs. There are actually 3 vital parameters in the blood test (full blood count) that doctors look at; white cell count (WBC), Hematocrit (Hct) and Platelets (Plt). Furthermore, a doctor will not only look at the blood test results but sees the patient as a whole. The vital signs are more important than the FBC results.
An FBC result sample from

On another note, the current trend of focusing on rapid increase in platelet count by drinking papaya leaf juice and crab soup doesn't seem to have a scientific basis (yet). There does not seem to be any direct correlation. However, infected patients can continue using this remedies as a means to ensure adequate hydration. Who can tahan minum air kosong je!

3. The hospitals should give some medications other than Panadol

Dengue is a virus. Antibiotics won't work against viruses. Dengue fever is a self limiting disease. The mode of therapy is just supportive therapy. If there is plasma leakage and the body lack fluids, we supplement with fluids. If there is fever, we give Panadol. However for the pain at the limbs and joints, DO NOT request for NSAIDs based analgesics (pain killers). It would do more harm. There are studies being done to come up with a Dengue vaccine, but it will still take some time. Besides, there are so many anti vaccers around!

4. The Ministry of Health staff have no other better things to do than fog after work

There has been numerous complaints by members of the public who are completely ignorant about the Aedes mosquito. Aedes tend to be feed between 5 a.m to 8.30 a.m and 5 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. Would you rather be disturbed in the early morning or after work? No one would want to do things just for the sake of it. However, fogging does not really solve anything. Let's face it, most people would lock down their house and shut everything once they hear the sound of the fogging machine. What happens to the Aedes mosquitoes already inside the house? They will continue to feed on the humans inside the house. Then people will say "fogging pun kena Denggi jugak, buang masa je".

Here's a tip, get one of those Fumakila or Shieldtox aerosols and spray under the bed, under the tables and wherever you think there might be mosquitoes at dusk and dawn. Perhaps, at night you can just sleep inside the kelambu to save from the hassle.

5. That garbage outside my house is the local council's job to clear off. If I get Dengue fever, it's their fault

This is THE MAIN problem why Dengue is out of control. It is always orang lain punya pasal.

"Let's just dump this rubbish in the drain. Next week the DBKL people will clean it up!"

"I just finished this food I tar pau in polystyrene container, just leave it here lah. Malas nak buang"

"Gotong royong?! Where got time for that. This weekend I'm going to the movies."

This mentality MUST stop. Try your best to cover up any containers which can collect water. It can be potential breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes (larvae). If you have a kolah that might not be in use for some time, sprinkle a bit of abate in the water to kill off larvae.

STOP thinking that it won't happen to you. START thinking as a community. If you happen to find a container filled with water at the side of the road, help pick it up and throw it in a proper place. You might have saved someone's life.

The successful eradication of Dengue fever lies in the hands of every Malaysian.

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