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My dengue story: Lyuba from Ukraine living in Myanmar


Bagan, Myanmar. Photo Courtesy: Lyubov Byessonova

“My name is Lyuba, I’m 27 years old from Ukraine, and I currently live in Yangon, Myanmar. I had never heard of dengue fever until a few months ago, when I moved to Myanmar and I discovered that my friend Alejandra was working as a travel blogger for Break Dengue. And now here I am – recovering from dengue myself. I was traveling to Central Myanmar for the first time, and was excited to see the famous landmarks: Inle Lake, Mandalay, and Bagan. Apparently somewhere towards the end of my trip I was bitten by a mosquito. I am not used to wearing repellent since mosquitoes usually don’t bite me. What I forgot was that since I wasn’t in Europe anymore it wasn’t just unpleasant bites I had to worry about, but diseases. Dengue mosquitoes are very tricky; unlike malaria mosquitoes, they are active during the day. I would never even have thought about using repellent in the daytime. Fever When I go to Yangon, where I currently live, I had a low fever of 37 C, and occasional body aches. I thought I was getting a cold, and tried to shrug it off. I couldn’t be sick – I was going on a trip to Bangkok! By the time I go to Bangkok the fever had worsened. The evening I arrived it was already 38.5 C. I drank lots of water and took paracetamol. I began to get pains in my low back and neck, so I took some ibuprofen too. It helped for a while but the fever returned. It went on like this for two days: I took the medication, the fever went away – and then came back again, worse than ever. Night-time was the worst: I couldn’t sleep, I had horrible pain in the area behind my eyes, I was shivering, sweating, getting cold and hot. On the third day of high fever I realized I needed a doctor.

Inle Lake

Inle Lake, Myanmar. Photo Courtesy: Lyubov Byessonova

At the emergency room of St. Louis hospital they took my temperature. It was 39.9 C; I was really scared. They did some blood tests and a flu test. I was told I didn’t have flu and prescribed some antibiotics, and more paracetamol. The doctor warned me not to take ibuprofen since it could cause bleeding if I had dengue. But nobody could give me a clear diagnosis. Since I had been told that I might have dengue, I looked up more information about the disease, starting with breakdengue.org. The more I read, the more convinced I was that I did indeed have some form best online casino of dengue. For the last two days of my stay in Bangkok I took the medicine I’d been prescribed, but I didn’t feel better at all. The fever kept coming back. When I got back to Yangon I went to a hospital. They did a lot of blood tests – including some for dengue and malaria – but all the tests came back negative. The blood indicators were perfect so the doctors couldn’t give me a clear answer. I was confused and frightened. Local knowledge That same evening I went to another doctor, known among locals for his skill in diagnosis. He examined me by putting a tourniquet on my arm. The tourniquet test showed that I was easily bruised, which is one of the symptoms of dengue. He was certain that I had the disease.

Mandalay - U Bein bridge

Mandalay – U Bein bridge, Myanmar. Photo Courtesy: Lyubov Byessonova

The doctor gave me a special injection of glucose, water, and antibiotics and after that I finally started to recover. The recovery process was slow. For five long days I was crippled with tiredness, and constantly wanted to sleep. In the end things turned out fine and there have been no complications. But I’ve learned my lesson – I will be more careful, and always wear repellent. But what surprised me is why dengue was not diagnosed immediately. In my opinion, some doctors rely too much on blood tests rather than the obvious physical symptoms. I was lucky to have access to all those facilities and tests, but it didn’t help me. If the blood test doesn’t always show dengue, how can doctors – and patients – easily recognize the disease?” Follow Lyuba”s blog: http://lyuben-in-asia.blogspot.com/