Managing the Diet of Dengue Patients
Dengue Fever (DF) is an acute febrile illness of 2-7 days duration (sometimes with two phases of peak fever) with two or more of the following manifestation.
- Severe, continuous, headache
- Retro – orbital pain – pain in sinus area and eye sockets
- Myalgia/arthralgia – body pain, back pain, joint and bone pain
- Skin rashes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Thrombocytopenia – dropping or reducing of blood platelet count
(Normal count should be 1,50,000- 4,00,000)
If two or more of the above symptoms are seen along with high fever the first step is to get a blood test done and if confirmed to get the patient admitted in a hospital that has good service and facilities to ensure that the blood platelet count is regularly monitored and the patient is treated with enough fluids to save them from dehydration.
Early diagnosis is the key. The treatment is simple but if not diagnosed and treated quickly and correctly the patient may die. The first dietary requirement is hydration with as much fluids as possible.
1. Drink as many glasses of water as possible
Tender coconut water
ORS- Oral Rehydration Solution/Electoral
2. Foods given must be easy to digest like boiled rice, vegetables and fruits like banana and apples.
3. Fatty, oily and spicy food must be strictly avoided.
The second dietary concern is to help build up platelets count
4. Vitamin C rich foods and supplements are very helpful. This is best available from fresh fruits and vegetables
5. Red foods are also a great help – Tomatoes, plums, watermelons, cherries and berries are loaded with vitamins and minerals and have strong anti-oxidant properties which helps to raise the platelet count.
6. Vitamin of the B group specially B12 which help in red blood cell formation along with the other B vitamins from the B complex group will be helpful.
Whole wheat and corn products, oats porridge, dhals and pulses, milk and milk products and eggs are rich sources of B complex vitamins.
Initially there is a lot of nausea and the patient may keep refusing food. It is safe to keep the patient in the hospital till appetite returns to normal. Also a vitamin B complex and C supplement may be taken for at least 3 months to 6 months after the attack of Dengue Fever.
A popular home remedy for Dengue fever is papaya leaf juice to be given daily 2 leafs ground at a time for 7-10days. This helps in the raising of platelet count. Tablets of papaya leaf preparation is also available.