Dana's Dance with Dengue

When the kids have a fever, I have this recurring fear of it being a dengue infection since our experience with my niece a few years back.  Nowadays, I've noticed that regular fevers take at least 4-5 days to dissipate compared to the 1-2 days when I was younger.  Dengue, as I know it, usually has the same onset but with a higher grade of fever.  When Dana was diagnosed with it, I was surprised to say the least and I'll tell you why.  None of the usual dengue symptoms that I knew about were true for her and that's what's scary.  Let me tell you about it.

It started last Wednesday morning when Dana complained that she wasn't feeling well and upon checking, she had a mild temperature of 38.3C (about 100F) so I made her stay home from school so we could monitor her.  I gave her some paracetamol and continually checked her throughout the day, giving her sponge baths every once in a while.  This routine continued for 3 days, with the fever in just that range.  She didn't lose her appetite.  It never got really high.

On Saturday morning, the fever hasn't broken and that's when we decided to take her to the doctor.  They performed a CBC and platelet level check.  Platelet levels are usually the first thing that doctors check to screen for dengue but at this point, this is more like determining a base line.  Dana's results indicated a low WBC (White Blood Cells) count but normal (211) platelet level.  Doctor Escutin of the De Ocampo Memorial Medical Center prescribed an antibiotic and recommended that we come back on Monday for a Dengue antigen test and another check on her CBC and platelets.

By Saturday afternoon and until Monday, Dana had no more fever which I thought was good but I remembered the doctor's warning that it could actually be worse and would require better monitoring because it could be the sign that dengue is manifesting.  I thought that was weird but I still kept it in mind.

On Monday evening,  we went back for the required check-up and sure enough, Dana tested positive for Dengue through the Dengue NS1 test.  Her platelets also went down to 152.  She also seemed weak and displayed a hint of malaise for someone who no longer had any fever.  Dr. Escutin told us not to worry but to keep her rehydrated with Gatorade (at least 1.5L or more a day).  He also prescribed OM-X capsules as immune boosters.

On Tuesday morning, another follow-up to check her CBC and platelets.  Her platelets were down to 111.  But on a positive note, her WBC was back to normal.  Dana was to continue her re-hydration at home and advised with total bed rest until Thursday.  At this point, I wasn't too worried because that's the only thing that can cure dengue - a supportive treatment of rehydration and rest.  I'm just glad that she didn't need to be hospitalized.

Wednesday, I was glad that a family friend, Ate Peng, gave us tawa-tawa plants to process into tea for Dana.  The tawa-tawa plant has been recommended for dengue-afflicted patients because it can elevate platelet levels quickly.  We also gave her quail eggs for added energy.

On Thursday evening, back to the doctor and this time her platelets were back to 163, a good enough sign of her healing.  She was advised to rest some more until her platelets can reach a more comfortable 200 range.  So she'll be back to school on Monday.

This experience has taught me a few new things about dengue:
1.  Dengue doesn't necessarily have to have a high-grade fever.
2.  Dengue doesn't necessarily have to show rashes.  Dana had none.
3.  It's the disappearance of the fever that's more worrisome.
4.  Re-hydration and rest are the key to getting better faster.

And a quotable quote from Doc Escutin:  "Mommy, school will still be there. Don't worry about missing it.  Your daughter's life is a one-shot deal.  We can't miss this one."


  1. Thanks soooo much for this post. My daughter also has low wbc but normal platelets. Still under observation. Your post was enlightening. I thought all along that dengue is always accompanied with high grade fever. Thanks again for this.

  2. Hi Abi. Glad you liked it. That's why I wrote it because I learned something new about dengue too.


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