Dengue fever is certainly not a new disease if you are living in a tropical country such as Malaysia. It is so common that whenever a person sees a mosquito with white and black stripes on its body is biting her or him, he or she will probably be freaked out or panicking. This is because a mosquito with such a feature is associated with the Aedes mosquito. This specific mosquito is always linked with the dengue virus that is responsible for dengue fever. One of the scary parts of dengue fever is the low count of platelets and people will try many things to help increase it. The question is, how?
Before answering that, why does low platelet occur in dengue fever? The dengue virus itself destroys blood cells which then affect the platelet. It also is caused by the decreased production of cells from the bone marrow. The bone marrow can be considered as the factory for blood components and platelets. The complications from low count of platelets can cause devastating effects. It affects the ability of the blood to clot and the body ability to fight infection. As a result, it can lead to serious bleeding happening inside the body, underneath the skin or on the skin surface.
To prevent this from happening, increasing the platelet count will immediately fix this issue. By making sure the platelet count is back to its optimal level, the body is able to have a better chance of fighting infection. Eating certain foods is always the first thing many people do to help increase the platelet count. Below is example of food that increase platelet count naturally:
1) Papaya- It contains substances that stimulate production of platelet and significantly increase platelet count. It is best to get papaya leaf juice or extract.
2) Folate-rich foods- Folate or vitamin B9 is essential for healthy blood cells. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate which you can find in supplements. Food high in folate includes beef liver, dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, kidney beans and black-eyed peas.
3) Fatty fish- It is high in vitamin B12 that plays a role in blood cell formation. It also contains high protein which is essential for the body’s immunity to fight infections. Examples of fatty fish are salmon and tuna.
4) Zinc-rich foods- It helps to increase platelet count and improve immune function. Food such as oyster, crab and beef are among the best sources of zinc.
5) Vitamin K rich foods- Vitamin K helps to boost platelet production. Examples of food high in vitamin K are green leafy vegetables and eggs.
6) Fruits high in vitamin C- Vitamin C helps to improve platelet function. Apart from oranges, you can try pomegranate and kiwi for a change. These fruits also have antioxidants which are essential for boosting the immune system.
7) Chlorophyll- It usually originated from chlorella. Chlorophyll can be found in green plants but the easiest way is to take spirulina or parsley supplement to rapidly increase platelet level.
The food mentioned above are just examples of what can be eaten. It is worth noting that eating food or taking supplements to increase platelet count may not work for everyone. For instance, in severe dengue or when the platelet count is too low, the person might be needing blood transfusion or platelet transfusion instead to prevent the possibility of internal bleeding. It estimated that 80-90% percent of patients with dengue have a low platelet count of below 100 000 while 10-20% may have a critical low platelet count of 20 000 or less. Hence, platelet transfusion or blood transfusion is likely to be given to those with critical low platelet count.
Before a person decides to take supplements or eat food in high amounts in an attempt to increase platelet level, it is best to talk with a healthcare provider first. Remember, this measure might not work immediately and need days before effects can be seen. Consistency is indeed the key. The effect itself may be visible with fewer symptoms and feeling better but is usually confirmed with repeated blood tests showing evidence of increase of the platelet count.
In essence, there are ways of increasing the platelet count that happens in dengue infection. The many foods or supplements helping to improve platelet function and count is the easiest and yummy way possible. If you or someone you know experience dengue symptoms, do get checked by a doctor immediately. Symptoms such as fever that last for 2 to 7 days, headache, muscle pain, joint pain and skin rash should be suspected of dengue. Getting checked by a doctor should lessen the risk for the critical phase. Critical phase is the phase where most patients may develop severe dengue. It lasts from 24 to 48 hours. Critical phase around the 3rd to 7th day which may be mistaken for recovery as symptoms seem to go away at this point. Hence, it is best to get medical advice as soon as you spot dengue symptoms.
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