Ayurvedic treatment for Dengue fever

Dengue fever

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  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
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Dengue fever Ayurvedic treatment


Dengue fever refers to a mosquito-borne disease that is generally found in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. While mild dengue can cause high fever, rash, muscle and joint pain; the more severe form of dengue, (called dengue hemorrhagic fever), can cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and death  - this can be a serious medical condition that endangers life.1

As per Ayurveda, symptoms similar to Dengue are classified as Dandaka Jwara in the paper Madhava Nidana. It has been described that a particular species of mosquito is the main reason for spread of fever called Dandaka jvara (fever causing stiffness). This fever mostly subsides within a week but can be more hazardous for the children and elderly2


Dengue fever


The cause of dengue fever are any one of four identified dengue viruses. These viruses are spread by mosquitoes similar to the spread of malaria.1

Recovery from dengue fever caused by a particular virus, may offer immunity to that virus, but does not protect against the other 3 viruses. In fact,  the risk for the severe form of dengue fever, called dengue hemorrhagic fever, actually increases when one has dengue for the second, third or fourth time.1


Dengue fever


In early stages of dengue fever there may be no signs or symptoms during a mild case of dengue fever. Symptoms usually begin four to ten days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Key signs and/or symptoms of dengue fever are1:

  • High fever as 106 F (41 degrees C)
  • Headaches
  • Pain in muscles, bones and joints
  • Pain in head and behind eyes

In many people, they may have1:

  • Widespread rash
  • Minor bleeding from gums or nose

While many recover in around a week, symptoms can worsen and become life-threatening for others. This seriousness can be identified as 1:

  • Bleeding from nose and mouth
  • Severe pain in abdomen
  • Constant vomiting
  • Bleeding patches under the skin, or bruising
  • Problems with lungs, liver and heart


Dengue fever


Diagnosing dengue fever can be complicated, as its signs and symptoms are confused with those of other diseases — such as malaria, leptospirosis and typhoid fever.1

Doctor generally ask about medical and travel history. Certain laboratory tests can confirm the presence of dengue viruses. After the onset of illness, the virus can be detected in serum, plasma, circulating blood cells and other tissues for 4–5 days. A low platelet count with the above mentioned symptoms is generally conclusive of dengue.1


Dengue fever


Although there is no specific treatment for disease, Ayurveda stresses to strengthen immune system of the body and managing high fever or hyperthermia.2-4

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Light warm food like thin rice gruel or gruels prepared with rice and moong dal (Rice porridge (khichari) cooked with ginger, cumin and lemon may be
  • Keep yourself hydrated- drink lots of fluids. Tea prepared with Tulsi (Basil), Ginger and cardamom can be taken at frequent interval.
  • Spicy and Oily food should be strictly avoided.

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Use Mosquito nets, full sleeved clothing
  • Adequate rest is advised.
  • Avoid cold shower or bath, especially head bath, day sleep, excessive sleep, sedentary life.


Dengue fever
  1. How is sinusitis caused? Does it have anything to do with cold foods?

Sinusitis is basically an inflammation of the membranes of para-nasal sinuses or the group of four paired air-filled spaces that surround the nasal cavity. Colds, bacterial infections, allergies, asthma and other health conditions can cause sinusitis, or inflammation of the para-nasal sinuses.

In some people, cold foods may flare the condition and aggravate the allergies resulting in sinus problems. Such people should avoid eating cold foods.

  1. What are symptoms of Asthma? How do I know if someone may have asthma?

Symptoms of Asthma differ from person to person. Some may have infrequent asthma attacks, some have symptoms only at certain times — such as when exercising — or some have symptoms all the time. 

Asthma signs and symptoms include-

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
  1. My reports show a low platelet count, do I have dengue?

Diagnosing dengue fever can be difficult, because its signs and symptoms can be easily confused with those of other diseases — such as malaria, chikungunya, leptospirosis and typhoid fever.

Your doctor will likely ask about your medical and travel history. Be sure to describe any contact you may have had with mosquitoes. Certain laboratory tests can detect evidence of the dengue viruses, but test results usually come back too late to help direct treatment decisions. A low platelet count is generally seen in dengue but is not the only isolated finding. Fever, body-ache, skin rash, which appears two to five days after the onset of fever and minor bleeding accompanied by low platelet count is conclusive of Dengue.

  1. How does one contract typhoid? 

Typhoid fever is caused by a bacteria called S. typhi. This bacteria spreads through ingestion of contaminated food or water, and occasionally through direct contact with someone who is infected. In developing nations, where typhoid fever is endemic, most cases result from contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation. The majority of people in industrialized countries pick up typhoid bacteria while traveling and spread it to others through the fecal-oral route or contamination of food and drinking water with fecal contact that may occur due to flies, etc.

This means that S. typhi is passed in the feces and sometimes in the urine of infected people. You can contract the infection if you eat food handled by someone with typhoid fever who hasn't washed hands carefully after using the toilet. You can also become infected by drinking water contaminated with the bacteria.

  1. Can malaria only spread from mosquitoes?

Although the commonest cause of malarial fever is due to a bite by the infected female anopheles mosquito, this is not necessarily the only way one can be affected. 

Because the parasites that cause malaria affect red blood cells, people can also catch malaria from exposures to infected blood, including:

  • From mother to unborn child
  • Through blood transfusions
  • By sharing needles used to inject drugs
  • Organ transplants
  1. Does yellowness of eyes always mean there is a liver problem?

In some people who eat large amounts of food rich in beta-carotene (such as carrots, squash, and some melons), their skin may look slightly yellow, but their eyes do not turn yellow. This condition is not jaundice and is unrelated to liver disease.

Yellowness of the eyes is usually due to the leaked bilirubin pigment in the blood stream. This is called jaundice and most probably occurs in cases of liver inflammation. Such patients will also have a visible yellowness of skin.

  1. How does one get elephantiasis? 

Elephantiasis is basically swelling of the lymph glands due to an infection. The disease spreads from person to person by mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites a person who has lymphatic filariasis, microscopic worms circulating in the person's blood enter and infect the mosquito. People get lymphatic filariasis from the bite of an infected mosquito. The microscopic worms pass from the mosquito through the skin, and travel to the lymph vessels. In the lymph vessels they grow into adults. An adult worm lives for about 5–7 years. The adult worms mate and release millions of microscopic worms, called microfilariae, into the blood. People with the worms in their blood can give the infection to others through mosquitoes.

  1. What is the difference between Pneumonia and Pneumonitis?

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (purulent material), causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing.

Pneumonitis on the other hand, is a general term that refers to inflammation of lung tissue. Although pneumonia is technically a type of pneumonitis because the infection causes inflammation, most doctors refer to other causes of lung inflammation when they use the term "pneumonitis”.

Factors that can cause pneumonitis include exposure to airborne irritants at your job or from your hobbies. In addition, some types of cancer treatments and dozens of drugs can cause pneumonitis.

  1. Is rheumatic fever same as rheumatoid arthritis?

They are different. Rheumatic fever occurs after an infection of the throat with a bacterium called Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A streptococcus. Group A streptococcus infections of the throat cause strep throat or, less commonly, scarlet fever. Group A streptococcus infections of the skin or other parts of the body rarely trigger rheumatic fever. The exact link between strep infection and rheumatic fever isn't clear, but it appears that the bacterium ‘plays tricks’ on the immune system.

Rheumatic fever usually occurs in younger population especially children while rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammation of the body that mostly affects the joints in adults. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that certain cells of the immune system do not work properly and start attacking healthy tissues — especially the joints. The one that affects young children is called stilts disease.

  1. Every time I touch cold water I get these spots on my skin. There is no other complaint. Is this because of some allergy to water?

You may have a condition called Urticaria. It is a skin reaction that causes red or white itchy spots on the skin. There is a type of Urticaria called cold urticaria, in which skin that has been in contact with cold develops reddish, itchy spots. The severity of cold urticaria symptoms varies widely. Some people have minor reactions to cold, while others have severe reactions. Swimming in cold water is the most common cause of a whole-body (systemic) reaction.


Dengue fever
  1. Mayo Clinic. Dengue fever. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dengue-fever/basics/definition/con-20032868 accessed Aug 30th 2016
  2. National Health Portal - India. Ayurvedic perspective of Dengue Fever. Available at http://www.nhp.gov.in/ayurvedic-perspective-of-dengue-fever_mtl accessed Aug 30th 2016
  3. Dengue: Guidelines for Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Control: New Edition. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK143156/
  4. Madhav Nidana Parishishta. Madhukosha Vyakhya. Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthana. Varanasi. 26th Edn 1996: 431

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