Dengue Diet is the specific diet that is planned, taking into consideration, the nutritional requirements of an individual infected by the Dengue virus. Dengue fever is characterised by high fever of sudden onset accompanied by some or all of the symptoms of severe headache, random aches and pains throughout different parts of the body especially behind the eyes, skin rashes, bleeding gums, skin or nose, nausea and vomiting. The fever continues to take its toll on the patient for at least 5 -7 days. Extreme muscle pain and joint pains remain even after the fever subsides. Due to this, earlier this condition was referred to as ‘break-bone fever’. The virus responsible for causing Dengue infection is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. In the most serious forms of dengue fever, near fatal situations like Dengue Shock Syndrome [DSS] or Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever [DHF] could arise.
Features of Dengue Diet
In severe forms of the fever, hospitalization may become necessary. Careful monitoring with administration of IV fluids, electrolyte replenishment, regular blood pressure checking and even blood transfusion might be needed. In less severe cases, for most patients suffering from Dengue fever, treatment may be provided at home. A well-planned diet becomes critical in either situation. Important considerations of a Dengue diet are-
- A liquid diet is advisable. When loss of body fluids occurs as in cases where Dengue Fever progresses further to DSS or DHF, rehydration therapy becomes critical
- ORS – Oral Rehydration Salts is administered in case of diarrhoea or vomiting
- Orange juice plays a key role in delivering energy, providing vitamins in the form of antioxidants. It favours quicker healing and assists in faster recovery of the individual. It is also known to help regularise digestion and urinary outflow. Lemon juice is another option.
- Tender coconut water also provides certain important minerals.
- Raw papaya leaves are ground to extract juice after thorough cleaning. The small quantity of this extract (2 tablespoons per day) has been proved to be useful as part of the dengue diet regimen.
- Herbal teas like ginger tea, tulsi or cardamom tea and even green tea or lemon tea are suggested for their healing properties.
- Biscuits may be had along with the tea.
- Porridge with oats or thin, light khichdi can be had if the patient is able to tolerate semi-solid foods. These prove to be a good source of carbohydrates as well as protein.
- Soup and toast is a healthy combination.
- Boiled vegetables or rice gruel can be included as they are easier to digest.
- Fruits like apples, oranges, bananas may be had.
- Use of salt, oil and spices should be minimal.
Benefits of Dengue Diet
- It is light on the digestive system with limited use of oil, spice and salt
- It helps to rehydrate the system which may have lost vitality owing to fluid losses
- The Dengue Diet assists in recovery and helps the individual to slowly and gradually revert to normal in due course.
- It helps in supplying the body with energy as well as essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
- Anti-oxidant nutrients that are present could help prevent further damage to the system
The Dengue Diet regimen which provides proper nutrition, along with plenty of rest and care, by way of appropriate treatment and medication, can place an individual on the road to a speedy recovery.