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A day in the life of a patient suffering from Yellow Fever

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I never knew that fevers could have colors. I am suffering from one of them! It’s called yellow fever. Initially, I found it very funny when the doctor told me I was suffering from yellow fever. But, slowly, I realized it was no joke. The symptoms of this disease are not as fancy as its name sounds. It has brought several changes in my life. Here’s how my life has been since I was diagnosed with yellow fever.

Waking up in the morning

Yellow fever is caused due to the infection by Flavivirus, which enters the body through the bite of an infected mosquito. Even morning, I get up with a feeling of nausea and vomiting. I have realized why this disease is called yellow fever. It’s because of jaundice or the yellowish discoloration of the skin caused due to this illness. My nausea and vomiting are also the results of jaundice due to the liver damage caused by this infection. 

Starting the day

Yellow fever is a very serious disease. It is a potentially deadly infective disorder. Every day, when I see myself in the mirror, I realize the dangers that lay ahead for me due to this infection. My skin has become yellowish. Even my eyes and nails have become yellowish. Yellow fever makes itself evident to me at every second due to these annoying changes in my skin.

Well... that’s not all. It has also caused muscle pains, fever, chills, and headaches. These symptoms have created havoc in my routine life. I can neither go to work nor take a bath without feeling the pain and discomfort.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Yellow fever has forced me to change my diet drastically. My favorite fries and pizzas are no longer the part of my diet. The doctor has strictly advised me to eat a nutritious and healthy diet. There is no treatment for yellow fever. My recovery can be hastened only if I take proper care of my general health. So, I am asked to eat fruits and vegetables to ensure my body gets enough vitamins, and minerals. I am also drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. This helps to prevent the dehydration that may occur due to the recurrent vomiting. 

Going to work and taking the treatment

I started experiencing the symptoms of yellow fever 5 to 6 days back. The doctor has advised me to take rest. A small percentage of patients with this disease develop fatal complications. Hence, I am not taking any chances. I have decided to join my office only after I recover completely.

Unfortunately, there are no effective antiviral medications to treat and cure yellow fever. So, the doctor has prescribed me medications based on the symptoms. I am taking antipyretic drugs for fever and antiemetics to control vomiting.

Luckily, the symptoms are well in control with these medications. Some patients with yellow fever need hospitalization and treatment with IV fluids, and oxygen. Some patients also need a blood transfusion to replace the lost blood, and kidney dialysis in case there is kidney failure.

Prevention of complications

Even though I am suffering from severe pain in my muscles and joints, the doctor has warned me against using painkillers or NSAIDs as they may increase the risk of bleeding. 

What are the daily limitations and what are the fears?

The biggest problem I am facing due to yellow fever is vomiting and joint pains. I do not feel like eating anything. However, at the same time, I cannot neglect my diet. I have to eat a bland diet forcibly. I try to avoid doing much of physical activities as I fear my joint pains may become worse. I also feel very tired after doing minimal work. So, I try to restrict my activities and stress on taking as much of rest as possible.

How does the future look like?

Since there is no cure for yellow fever, the future is quite unpredictable. The doctor told me this infection can cause serious complications and even lead to the death of the patients if proper precautions to maintain the general health are not taken.

I should be able to recover fully if I follow the healthy dietary habits and ensure my blood pressure is within normal limits. That is why; I have increased my fluid intake to avoid severe hypotension.

What are the risk factors?

The doctor told me the yellow fever virus is transmitted from an infected person to a healthy person by mosquitoes of the Haemagogus and Aedes species. Though this information was too technical for me; it was enough to make me understand that the best way to prevent yellow fever is to avoid mosquito bites.
I have started taking proper precautions to avoid mosquito bites. I wear long sleeve clothes, and apply a mosquito repellent on my skin before stepping out of the home.

The worst part about yellow fever is it can affect a large population causing an endemic and have no real cure. It can affect the thickly populated areas that have a high mosquito density and people with low immunity, due to the lack of proper hygienic surroundings and vaccination.

The doctor has advised my family to take vaccination for this infection. Since we already have a family member infected with yellow fever, they are at a higher risk of contracting the infection from me through mosquito bites.
Luckily, the yellow fever vaccine is safe and highly effective. A single dose of this vaccine can provide a life-long protection against yellow fever.

I wish I had taken the vaccine earlier. This could have helped me avoid the ordeal I am facing now.

The evolution of Yellow fever

I am experiencing an acute phase of yellow fever. However, when the symptoms began, they lasted only for a day and then, disappeared for almost 24 hours. The symptoms soon returned with a higher intensity. I am suffering from nausea, vomiting, jaundice, decreased urination, and bleeding from the mouth, nose, and eyes. I also get pain in my abdomen.

Some patients are not able to recover from the acute phase of yellow fever and enter the toxic phase, which can cause fatal consequences. They may develop more serious symptoms like delirium, seizures, vomiting of blood, and abnormal heart rhythm. The toxic phase of yellow fever has a high mortality rate.

What are the psychological effects when you have Yellow fever?

I may or may not recover from yellow fever. I will not survive this infection if I develop the toxic phase. But, I am hopeful. The symptoms are well in control till now. I wish I had taken the vaccine for yellow fever. This would have saved me from the annoying symptoms and the danger for my life.

Topics: Yellow Fever

Dr. Jyothi Shenoy

Written by Dr. Jyothi Shenoy

Dr. Jyothi Shenoy is a doctor having a clinical experience of more than 15 years. She has an expertise in treating acute and chronic diseases like obesity, IBS, asthma, arthritis, Autism, ADHD, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, allergies, cancer, infections, and skin diseases. She believes in treating the patients in a holistic manner. She aims at educating the patients about the illness and providing tips related to their lifestyle and diet to ensure a long-term relief from the disease and preventing its recurrence.