Dengue virus infection is one of the world’s emerging infectious diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year about 50-100 million cases of dengue fever are reported. Moreover, WHO also recognized dengue fever endemic in more than 112 countries and mainly in Asian sub-continent.
Dengue virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, normally Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus. Symptoms of dengue infection may occur after an incubation period of 4 to 7 days. According to WHO, patient with confirmed dengue have high fever and any two of the following symptoms are present as a headache, myalgia, rash, leukopenia, vomiting and one of the important sign is platelet count less than 1 lakh. A patient can also suffer from lethargy and fatigue, dizziness, abdominal pain, liver enlargement and fluid accumulation in the lungs and abdomen.
The fatigue and tiredness experienced is more and hence a person needs additional nutrition to maintain the immunity and fight with the condition. Here, diet plays a major role. A proper diet while suffering from dengue can help one to deal with the symptoms and aftermaths of dengue fever. There are certain essential foods to have and certain foods to avoid during dengue fever. This article will focus on the dengue diet: foods to eat and not to eat and preventive methods of dengue fever.
Dengue Diet: What to Eat?
A diet for the dengue patient should be light and easy to digest. The following list of foods helps to increase the immunity, increase your haemoglobin and thus maintain the platelet count as well. These foods should be part of your dengue diet.
Coconut Water: Being hydrated round the clock is one of the most crucial things you can do when you have a dengue fever. Coconut water is the best beverage to drink when you are down with dengue. Many studies reported that coconut water contains anti-oxidant that improve blood sugar control and fight against viruses.
Papaya Leaf Juice: Papaya leaves are rich in enzymes like papain and chymopapain which increase platelets, prevent bloating, improve digestion, decrease dizziness and rashes as well. Moreover, papaya leaves contain Vitamin A, K, E and B and minerals like iron, calcium, sodium and magnesium. According to the world health report, papaya leaves can help in rapidly increasing the platelet counts and boost the immune system within 1 week. Many doctors suggested the use of papaya leaves to their patients as an alternative method alongside conventional medical treatment for dengue fever.
Green Tea: Green tea in dengue is very effective because of the antioxidant present on the green tea which reduces the infection level and inflammation. It is noted that many patients feel body ache while suffering from dengue, so if they drink green tea on regular basis it will help to reduce the inflammatory symptoms and make the immune system stronger.
Green Leafy Vegetables: It is very crucial to get all vitamins and minerals for your body when you are suffering from dengue. Vegetables like Kale, spinach, cabbage are rich in calcium which ensure a strong immune system as well as increased in haemoglobin. Antioxidants such as vitamin A, K, lutein, and zeaxanthin in green vegetables protect cells from damage and help fight inflammation. Thus, green vegetables are one of the important things that you should include in your diet while recuperating dengue.
Porridge: Porridge is also known as Dalia in India, and it is one of the popular breakfast options all around the world. Porridge is loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals that actively protect the human body from external viruses. It is simple to make and digest as well. Keep in mind, if you are suffering from dengue, to make a habit to eat it regularly in breakfast.
Soup: As per the studies, soup is one of the best food recipes for treating and easing symptoms of dengue. It increases hunger and relieves joint pains. All in all, it is good for digestion and boosts immunity.
Dairy Products: You can treat the symptoms of dengue by consuming dairy products such as milk, butter, yogurt, and cheese. Dairy products are one of the best protein sources when sick because it easily battles with the virus. Non-vegetarians can consume fish and chicken every week once they start recovering from the fever.
Fruit Juice: Fresh juices of orange, pineapple, strawberry, guava, avocado, and kiwi can be taken to boost the immune system. The juice which contains vitamin C provides minerals, calcium, and antioxidants that the body needs when one is sick.
Dengue Diet: What Not to Eat?
Avoid Alcohol: One should definitely not drink when they are sick with dengue because it makes you dehydrated. While taking medicine for treating dengue, drinking alcohol is not a good idea because it may damage your liver and stomach cells permanently. Hence, avoid alcohol altogether when down with dengue.
Desserts Should be Avoided: Studies show that a high sugar intake can stifle the immune system and cause inflammation and make you lethargic—so skip it when you’re feeling sick. Rather, fulfil your sweet craving with natural product and veggie smoothies or organic product juice popsicles that are brimming with nutrients and furthermore help with hydration. You’ll be happy you did it when you are making progress toward recovery from dengue.
Fatty Foods: Foods high in fat can be hard to digest because they are contrasted with carbs and protein, and can trigger stomach pain as a result. Ensure to avoid oily and fried foods as it will only worsen dengue further.
Vegetables to Avoid: Do not consume vegetables like cabbage, capsicum, and turnip as these can cause gas and swelling in the body.
Treatment for Dengue
Unfortunately, dengue fever does not have any specific treatment. One needs to be adequately hydrated and the focus is on decreasing the fever. For dengue, medical care by physicians and medical attendants experienced with the impacts and progression of the disease can save the lives- decreasing the death rates from over 20% to less than 1%. Maintenance of the patient’s body fluid volume is critical to providing dengue care.
Prevention and Control of Dengue
The principal strategy to control or keep the transmission of dengue infection is to prevent the vector mosquitoes through:
- Preventing aedes mosquitoes from laying eggs near the homes
- Discarding waste appropriately and removing artificial man-made habitats; covering, exhausting and cleaning of residential water storage containers on a weekly basis
- Applying suitable mosquito sprays to water storage areas or open-air containers
- Using household protection, for example, window screens, long-sleeved garments, mosquito spray treated materials, coils, and vaporizers
- Always wash vegetables and natural products before you eat
- Avoid places that aren’t clean
- Wash your hands before eating something
- Purchase fruits and vegetables from hygienic stores
- Drink filtered water.
If you ever encounter side effects of dengue or some other related infection, quickly consult a doctor.
Diet plays a major role in dengue. It helps to keep the body hydrated, boosts the immune system and thus helps in recovery from dengue. If these are not followed properly, the patient might have life-threatening complications. Hence, a proper diet, on-time medication and a routine lifestyle must be followed to recover faster.