Woman Describes ’48 Hours Of Pain’ Due To Dengue, “I Wouldn’t Wish It On My Worst Enemy”

Shabnam Muzammil

With COVID-19 being in the spotlight in current times, the equally serious phenomenon of dengue fever in Singapore has taken a back seat. 

However, the National Environment Agency (NEA) warned that dengue cases may reach historical highs if current trends are recurrent. 

“We’ve had more than 9,000 dengue cases so far this year. We have not seen such figures for the same period since 2013, the largest outbreak year for Singapore in recent history. Last week, the weekly number of cases rose to 735 — the highest since 2013 and 2014. This is quite worrying for all of us,” noted Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Masagos Zulkifli, in a Facebook post on June 3. 

Dengue fever Singapore; Symptoms, Diagnosis, Ordeal

Cases reaching an all-time high

With NEA further warning that cases might rise to a historical high of 891 cases in a single week in the near future, and with 291 people been infected since May 31, we take a look at the personal account of one woman, Amanda Poh, who recently caught dengue fever in Singapore. 

Amanda’s story was recently posted on the NEA Stop Dengue Now Facebook page, and details the corporate affairs executive’s eight-day fight with the disease.

dengue fever singapore symptoms

Pictured is Amanda Poh. Photo: NEA Stop Dengue Now Facebook page Screengrab

48 Hours of Pain

Amanda, who is 28 years old, was spending the night out with some colleagues and was seated at an outdoor dining area that had plants in the vicinity. Despite being bitten by mosquitoes, she did not think it was a cause of concern at the time. 

However, a few days later she received news that a colleague who was at the same alfresco dining experience had contracted dengue fever, and by the same day towards the evening, Poh reports feelings feverish and experiencing slight nausea. 

dengue fever singapore symptoms

Amanda with her friends. Photo: NEA Stop Dengue Now Facebook page Screengrab

She initially shrugged off her symptoms as food poisoning and went to bed, “I thought it was food poisoning, but it got worse and I started feeling feverish. I popped a Panadol Extra and went straight to bed thinking I could beat it with a good night’s rest.”

By the next morning she wasn’t any better, however, and she now also had a raging 40-degree fever.

Although she did consult a doctor who found nothing wrong with her, her fever still continued sporadically for the next three days and she reports having a terrible appetite.  

She returned back to the clinic and was then referred to Changi General Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department, where blood tests revealed that she had contracted dengue. 

“My worst fears were confirmed – I had dengue (type 1)!” she writes. 

Poh notes her fears for facing the disease since there is no medication for its cure. She also had pre-planned an overseas holiday to Hokkaido six days later, which she dejectedly thought that she might have to cancel. 

“I went home worried and upset. When would I recover? I had planned for a holiday and my flight was in six days! My family and friends tried reassuring me, but I still felt terrible. There’s no medication for it – it’s really #theworstsicknessever,” she notes. 

Poh contracts dengue fever in Singapore accompanied by a rash

The next two days preceding her diagnosis were “the worst days of [her] life”, according to Poh, who experienced a severe rash together with the fever and other symptoms which was a “cross between burning and itching that never stops” even during a deep cycle of sleep. 

“I’d wake up at night and nothing would make it stop. I even had to shift my weight from leg to leg when brushing my teeth! My concerned folks tried preparing papaya leaf extract to help increase my platelet count, but I couldn’t stomach its taste,” she notes. 

However, four days after the diagnosis, Poh’s condition improved and she was able to recover.

In fact, she even managed to catch the pre-planned flight and go on holiday with her friends without having to make any last-minute cancellations. 

dengue fever singapore symptoms

Pictured here is Poh and her friends, on the holiday she didn’t have to cancel after all! Photo: iStock

She shares that ever since the unpleasant incident, she takes her mosquito repellent with her wherever she goes. 

“Anybody who thinks that dengue is no big deal will get an earful from me! I hope we’ll all stay vigilant and use mozzie repellent. If you see stagnant water anywhere, do something about it. Everyone can help prevent dengue,” she offers as advice to everyone. 

She also states that dengue fever was “an experience so horrible, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy!”

Here’s the full Facebook post on Amanda’s experience:

ALSO READ: Singapore To Face Biggest Dengue Outbreak In 2020, NEA Warns

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