October 25, 2022 | Written By: Sofia Farudz
Dengue fever is a serious mosquito-borne illness that 4 billion people, or close to half of the world's population, live in dengue-risk areas1. Malaysia is one of the countries with a high number of dengue cases2, and Selangor has the highest concentration3. Is dengue treatable? In this article, we will explore dengue fever treatments and discuss whether natural remedies can also be effective.
How Do You Know If You Have Dengue Fever?
Dengue affects people of all ages2. While the majority of dengue cases are either asymptomatic or show mild symptoms, few people can get severe dengue which may look like flu symptoms2. Dengue affects infants, children to adult2
Diagnosis of dengue is usually made based on the patient’s clinical presentation before confirmation with lab test4. The symptoms of dengue can vary from mild to severe. The most common symptoms include2:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a healthcare professional as soon as possible so that you can get the correct diagnosis and treatment.
How Do We Treat Dengue Fever?
There is no specific treatment for dengue5. What can you do if you have symptoms of dengue?
1. Medical & Supportive Therapy
If you are diagnosed with dengue fever, it is important to seek treatment immediately. There is no specific antiviral medication for dengue fever5, but there are treatments that can help to relieve the symptoms and support the recovery process.
The most common dengue fever treatment is called supportive care5. This involves taking measures to relieve the symptoms and supporting the body as it fights the infection. Medical treatment may include pain relievers and fever reducers such as paracetamol to relieve fever and pain6. Painkillers like Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided to prevent the risk of bleeding6.
In severe cases of dengue fever, hospitalization may be necessary7. Treatment in the hospital may include:
2. Eat Nutritious Food & Drink Plenty of Water To Recover
It is important to eat nutritious food and drink plenty of water when you are sick with dengue fever8. Eating a healthy diet will help to boost your immune system and speed up your recovery.
Drinking plenty of fluids is also important to prevent dehydration8. Fruit juice and electrolyte drinks are good options8 to replenish your energy and hydrate your body.
If you cannot tolerate food or fluid orally, it is important to seek medical attention as you may need to be hospitalised and receive fluids through an IV line7,8.
3. Get Plenty of Rest
Getting plenty of rest will help your body to recover from the illness more quickly8. It is important to avoid strenuous activity and take breaks throughout the day to rest.
If you are feeling tired, it is okay to sleep more than usual. Once you start to feel better, you can slowly return to your normal activities.
Can Natural Remedies Be Effective?
Ever heard of the traditional treatment of dengue fever with herbs such as papaya leaf extract or crab soup? Does it work?
There were researches that showed papaya leaf juice/extract usage9, however, the role of papaya extract should be explored further by researchers. This herb is not recommended to be taken without the advice and supervision of a doctor10.
Certain food that is said to be good for dengue fever such as crab soup has not been proven to have any effect on dengue11, but they can be taken as a fluid replacement rather than as the main treatment for dengue11.
If you think you may have dengue fever, it is important to see a healthcare professional as soon as possible so that you can get the correct diagnosis. Taking unproven treatments may delay seeking proper medical care and lead to more serious consequences. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to avoiding serious health complications from dengue fever.
As prevention is better than cure, protecting yourself from dengue by taking precautionary measures is also very important.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dengue | https://tinyurl.com/s3dyvc8t | Accessed on 25 August, 2022
2. World Health Organization. Dengue and Severe Dengue | https://tinyurl.com/mrn4tucv | Accessed on 24 August, 2022.
3. iDengue_Versi 3.0 | https://tinyurl.com/2zp8wa4s | Accessed on 8 September, 2022
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dengue Diagnosis | https://tinyurl.com/45ms2nrp | Accessed on 24 August, 2022.
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treatment | https://tinyurl.com/3effbdwp | Accessed on 13 September, 2022
6. MIMS Malaysia. Dengue Treatment | https://tinyurl.com/3dt2ax8x | Accessed on 24 August, 2022.
7. MIMS Malaysia. Dengue Diagnosis | https://tinyurl.com/2dcte4wb | Accessed on 24 August, 2022.
8. MIMS Malaysia. Supportive Therapy | https://tinyurl.com/yx7dpbfu | Accessed on 24 August, 2022.
9. Soobitha Subenthiran, Tan Chwee Choon, Kee Chee Cheong, Ravindran Thayan, Mok Boon Teck, Prem Kumar Muniandy, Adlin Afzan, Noor Rain Abdullah and Zakiah Ismail. (2013). Carica papaya leaves juice significantly accelerates the rate of increase in platelet count among patients with dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever. Institute for Medical Research, Malaysia | https://tinyurl.com/k6ta5kfp | Accessed on 8 September, 2022
10. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. Langkah-Langkah Penyediaan Jus Daun Betik. Pusat Penyelidikan Perubatan Herba Institut Penyelidikan Perubatan, 1–2 | https://tinyurl.com/3v7bjs3w | Accessed on 24 August, 2022
11. Ismail, I. S., Hairon, S. M., Yaacob, N. M., Besari, A. M., & Abdullah, S. (2019, May). Usage of traditional and complementary medicine among dengue fever patients in the Northeast region of Peninsular Malaysia. The Malaysian journal of medical sciences : MJMS | https://tinyurl.com/4csufe5x | Accessed on 8 September, 2022
C-ANPROM/MY/DENV/0072 SEPT 2022
This article is brought to you by Takeda Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.
Disclaimer: This information is available to public for information purposes only; it should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not intended to substitute consultation with a healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice.