Dengue: Uninvited and Unwanted, Came to our House

Well I finally got dengue, I knew the chances were good, the numbers for Manabi were high but we hoped that we had taken all the precautions necessary to avoid these mosquito borne diseases.  We were wrong and I am now part of the growing statistic for the disease here in Ecuador.

My symptoms: first for about three days prior to the first big symptoms I had this awful feeling that I had bad breath, had not changed toothpastes, or eaten anything different but my mouth taste/odor was not right.  On Tuesday I had this headache pain right about my left eye…a sharp pain that lasted only a few seconds, it happened a few times and it was gone so I basically forgot about it. Early morning Wednesday after 1am I got up with the chills and a fever, had a terrible headache and pain in my eyes. I got up added another blanket and attempted to sleep.  Early the next morning I felt even worse, could hardly get out of bed, but assumed it was some sort of flu and was going to ride it out.  After sleeping on and off during the day on Wednesday, Joe was taking my temperature which stayed around 100-101 all day, he gave me Tylenol and as much water as I would drink.  I finally gave in and called my friend Eva around 6:30 pm to call Dra. Christina for me.  Dra. Christina arrived within 30 minutes, along with mi amiga Eva as my translator, and assessed my symptoms and diagnosed dengue…She gave me three shots, two in the backside and one in my arm, left a prescription for three items to get and to start taking 2 Tylenol every 6 hours starting the next morning…Drink plenty of water and get lots of rest.  Within 10 seconds after the first shot I could feel the difference and the headache started to dissipate.  No chills or measurable fever during the night.

Woke Thursday morning feeling beat up but with only a slight headache, tired and a slight fever.  Several things can happen over the next week or so – I can get a rash over my body, get the chills and fever back, and watch it doesn’t progress to something worse.

I guess the reason for writing this is to let folks know that it is not easily going to go away by itself.  As soon as you feel any of these symptoms go to your local clinic, call your general practitioner and please DO NOT TAKE any ibuprofen type products……..

We are pretty proactive people and when it comes to dengue, hemorrhagic fever from dengue, zika and chikungunya we take what I consider good precautions. Our yard is kept neat and all low hanging branches, bushes and flowers are kept cut back. We use Detan repellent every day, Joe fumigates the yard and house for mosquitoes every week and we walk around with cans of spray when we are outside.  We rake up leaves each morning and have no standing water around.  I do attempt to water early mornings so that the topsoil is not wet during the night hours. But none of those precautions help with this one mosquito. I could have been bitten while taking my morning walk but again I put on Detan before I leave the house, I could have been bitten at a local restaurant on Saturday night while out for dinner but again I wore Detan or I could have been bitten in my own home or yard where I always use Detan.

Everyday seemed to have a different symptom, first the headaches and eye sensitivity, next the fever and chills, next just sweats, total exhaustion, sick to stomach with diarrhea, after 12 days I finally feel back to my normal self.

Joe did get fresh papaya leaves from a producing tree and put them through the juicer added lemon juice and sugar and I drank that three times a day towards the end.  this was advice from a friend in Panama. I do think it helped.  World, look out. I’m back!!

Chikungunya and Dengue and You

 

1mosquitoChikungunya: As of today May 22, 2015 there are reported to be 11,897 incidents of Chikungunya and two deaths in Ecuador. Most of these reported cases are in the provinces of Guayas, Esmeraldas and Manabi.  The two deaths are reported to be in the province of Esmeraldas.

http://www.eldiario.ec/noticias-manabi-ecuador/356356-dos-personas-mueren-a-causa-del-chikungunya-en-ecuador/

I am posting a few bulletins with regards to Chikungunya, how to avoid it and how to have it treated.

World Health Organiation: http://www.searo.who.int/entity/emerging_diseases/topics/Chikungunya_FactSheet_Chikungunyafever.pdf

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/pdfs/CHIKV_DengueEndemic.pdf

 

Dengue: In the same article referenced above in El Diario there are 17,824 incidents of dengue and two deaths.  Concentration of these incidents has been reported in Guayas, Manabi and Esmeraldas provinces.   According to the local paper there is a third death, a 16 year old boy in Rocafuerte. This would bring the death toll to three.

CDC: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2014/chapter-3-infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/dengue

Very interesting and important side note on both Dengue and Chikungunya: If you take daily aspirin or a blood thinner or similar you are at increased risk if you contact one of these two diseases.  With dengue it can elevate to hemorrhagic fever which can be fatal. In Chikungunya there is a danger in increased bleeding as some of the symptoms may include bleeding from the nose, bleeding internally, and the like.

The reason this fact is interesting is that a lot of us Expats probably take aspirin daily and some perhaps other medications like blood thinners for heart issues. And have never thought of or have not been advised of the increased risk they may have should they encounter one of these two not uncommon illnesses.  I know that during dengue outbreaks they take ibuprofen and similar items off the shelves.

Be sure to check for standing water, remove trash and leaves from your property and above all use insect repellent (Detan) reapplying a few times each day and if you see mosquitoes in your home sleep under a mosquito net.

So let’s be careful out there!