Surviving the Bangkok dengue fever outbreak

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  • #4737
    Anonymous
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    Rainy season is now upon us and with that begins an increase in Dengue Fever. Every doctor will warn you that before heading to a tropical destination, there are a few mosquito borne illnesses that strike fear into people worldwide. These often include malaria, Japanese encephalitis and Dengue fever. According to the Public Health Ministry of Thailand, this year is expected to be the worst season in Thailand’s history for haemorrhage dengue fever, also know as “Break-Bone Fever.” Already this year, 39,029 people have been treated for dengue fever and 44 people have died. With those cases expected to peak during the rainy season, the Public Health Ministry expects more than 100,000 cases by the years end and more than 100 deaths. So the question remains, “How do I make it through this rainy season without getting dengue fever?”

    What is Dengue Fever?

    In order to avoid a week of misery, its best to first understand where dengue comes from. The simple answer is from a mosquito, specifically the Aedes mosquito. This small, daytime mosquito is distinctive by its black body with white stripes or spots. It often hangs out around clean, still water while looking for blood in order to get the necessary protein to lay eggs. When the mosquito bites a human with dengue fever, the virus incubates in the mosquito for a number of days and then reaches the mosquitoes salivary glands. This allows the virus to be easily transferred to the person who is next bitten by the mosquito.

    How do I know if I have it?

    The good news is that 80% of the cases of dengue fever are asymptomatic or the person only shows signs of a mild fever, which means you may never even know you have it and your body will naturally deal with it over the course of a couple weeks. However for approximately 5% of those infected, they will be in for a long week or two. The incubation time, or the time between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms can be anywhere from 3 days to as much as two weeks.

    When symptoms do start, they will often feel very similar to an ordinary fever including raised body temperature, a stuffy nose as well as vomiting or diarrhea. While these symptoms are common and hard to distinguish from any old cold, there are a few tell tale signs that should throw up some warning flags and warrant a trip to the doctor. The first sign is severe headaches. We are talking I-can’t-think-because-my-head-might-explode headaches. The second sign is that you will feel like you have been hit by a truck. Expect joint and muscle pain rivaling that of a seventy year old man. If you think you have somehow thrown your back out while doing no labor harder than eating a bowl of rice, you may need to think about visiting your doctor. Another very common symptom is eye pain. If your eyes suddenly feel like they are three sizes too big for your eye sockets and every time you look left or right it exacerbates your headache, than that is another sign you may have dengue. Finally, if in conjunction with these symptoms you develop a body rash, you should immediately head to the hospital. Another rule of thumb is anytime you have a fever for three days, you should go see the doc for a check up.

    Once arriving at the doctors it is normal to get the full check up and be questioned about your symptoms. However, if you are really worried about potentially having dengue, do not leave the office until you get a blood test because that is the only way to confirm whether or not you do indeed have dengue.

    Crap, I have dengue, what can I expect now?

    Quite simply, a long hospital visit. There is no medicine or vaccine for dengue fever, so once you have it, there is little that can actually be done. However, if the disease gets too advanced, it’s possible you can enter Dengue Shock Syndrome or haemorrhage blood from you intestinal tract. This can lead to other complication like liver failure and possibly death. So listen to your doctor. When he tells you to stay at the hospital a few nights, don’t fight him. You will be hooked up to an IV day and night and given paracetamol or acetaminophen, which is commonly sold as Tylenol. Do not take ibuprofen or aspirin as this can increase your chance of internal bleeding. If your doctor is trying to give you this, sit him down and have a serious conversation with him. I repeat, DO NOT TAKE IBUPROFEN OR ASPIRIN.

    When the doctor tells you to stay in the hospital, expect to stay for a number of days. Five was my magic number and was corroborated by a few friends who have also had the disease. Every morning you will have blood drawn and a visit from your doctor to update your white blood cell count, blood platelet count and kidney functions. Nurses will check your temperature and blood pressure every four hours and you will eat horrible, horrible hospital food. Typically your doctor will allow you to go home when you have not had a fever for 24 hours and your blood counts are trending towards normal. Congratulations you made it.

    That sounds horrible, how can I not get this?

    It is horrible and there are a few things you can do to decrease your chances of acquiring it. The easiest thing to do is to coat your body in mosquito repellent 24/7. It is also important to understand that if the Aedes mosquito bites during the day and is attracted to still, clean water, then you should aim to stay away from those areas or prevent those environments from occurring.

    There are a number of preventative measures you can take to make your home unattractive breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquito. The most obvious is to get rid of still water in your house or apartment. These mosquitoes love to hang around water holding containers such as water bottles, plant dishes and toilets. Make a concerted effort to throw water bottles away, or at the very least screw the caps on them. Plant dishes should be cleaned every other day and toilet seats should be shut. The idea is to not even let them breed as one of the reasons for this years outbreak is that the mosquitoes are breeding at hiring rates than ever. For more information on preventing Aedes mosquitoes from breeding and other information on dengue fever, check the Singapore National Environment Agency website.

    #4482
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Rainy season is now upon us and with that begins an increase in Dengue Fever. Every doctor will warn you that before heading to a tropical destination, there are a few mosquito borne illnesses that strike fear into people worldwide. These often include malaria, Japanese encephalitis and Dengue fever. According to the Public Health Ministry of Thailand, this year is expected to be the worst season in Thailand’s history for haemorrhage dengue fever, also know as “Break-Bone Fever.” Already this year, 39,029 people have been treated for dengue fever and 44 people have died. With those cases expected to peak during the rainy season, the Public Health Ministry expects more than 100,000 cases by the years end and more than 100 deaths. So the question remains, “How do I make it through this rainy season without getting dengue fever?”

    What is Dengue Fever?

    In order to avoid a week of misery, its best to first understand where dengue comes from. The simple answer is from a mosquito, specifically the Aedes mosquito. This small, daytime mosquito is distinctive by its black body with white stripes or spots. It often hangs out around clean, still water while looking for blood in order to get the necessary protein to lay eggs. When the mosquito bites a human with dengue fever, the virus incubates in the mosquito for a number of days and then reaches the mosquitoes salivary glands. This allows the virus to be easily transferred to the person who is next bitten by the mosquito.

    How do I know if I have it?

    The good news is that 80% of the cases of dengue fever are asymptomatic or the person only shows signs of a mild fever, which means you may never even know you have it and your body will naturally deal with it over the course of a couple weeks. However for approximately 5% of those infected, they will be in for a long week or two. The incubation time, or the time between exposure to the virus and the onset of symptoms can be anywhere from 3 days to as much as two weeks.

    When symptoms do start, they will often feel very similar to an ordinary fever including raised body temperature, a stuffy nose as well as vomiting or diarrhea. While these symptoms are common and hard to distinguish from any old cold, there are a few tell tale signs that should throw up some warning flags and warrant a trip to the doctor. The first sign is severe headaches. We are talking I-can’t-think-because-my-head-might-explode headaches. The second sign is that you will feel like you have been hit by a truck. Expect joint and muscle pain rivaling that of a seventy year old man. If you think you have somehow thrown your back out while doing no labor harder than eating a bowl of rice, you may need to think about visiting your doctor. Another very common symptom is eye pain. If your eyes suddenly feel like they are three sizes too big for your eye sockets and every time you look left or right it exacerbates your headache, than that is another sign you may have dengue. Finally, if in conjunction with these symptoms you develop a body rash, you should immediately head to the hospital. Another rule of thumb is anytime you have a fever for three days, you should go see the doc for a check up.

    Once arriving at the doctors it is normal to get the full check up and be questioned about your symptoms. However, if you are really worried about potentially having dengue, do not leave the office until you get a blood test because that is the only way to confirm whether or not you do indeed have dengue.

    Crap, I have dengue, what can I expect now?

    Quite simply, a long hospital visit. There is no medicine or vaccine for dengue fever, so once you have it, there is little that can actually be done. However, if the disease gets too advanced, it’s possible you can enter Dengue Shock Syndrome or haemorrhage blood from you intestinal tract. This can lead to other complication like liver failure and possibly death. So listen to your doctor. When he tells you to stay at the hospital a few nights, don’t fight him. You will be hooked up to an IV day and night and given paracetamol or acetaminophen, which is commonly sold as Tylenol. Do not take ibuprofen or aspirin as this can increase your chance of internal bleeding. If your doctor is trying to give you this, sit him down and have a serious conversation with him. I repeat, DO NOT TAKE IBUPROFEN OR ASPIRIN.

    When the doctor tells you to stay in the hospital, expect to stay for a number of days. Five was my magic number and was corroborated by a few friends who have also had the disease. Every morning you will have blood drawn and a visit from your doctor to update your white blood cell count, blood platelet count and kidney functions. Nurses will check your temperature and blood pressure every four hours and you will eat horrible, horrible hospital food. Typically your doctor will allow you to go home when you have not had a fever for 24 hours and your blood counts are trending towards normal. Congratulations you made it.

    That sounds horrible, how can I not get this?

    It is horrible and there are a few things you can do to decrease your chances of acquiring it. The easiest thing to do is to coat your body in mosquito repellent 24/7. It is also important to understand that if the Aedes mosquito bites during the day and is attracted to still, clean water, then you should aim to stay away from those areas or prevent those environments from occurring.

    There are a number of preventative measures you can take to make your home unattractive breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquito. The most obvious is to get rid of still water in your house or apartment. These mosquitoes love to hang around water holding containers such as water bottles, plant dishes and toilets. Make a concerted effort to throw water bottles away, or at the very least screw the caps on them. Plant dishes should be cleaned every other day and toilet seats should be shut. The idea is to not even let them breed as one of the reasons for this years outbreak is that the mosquitoes are breeding at hiring rates than ever. For more information on preventing Aedes mosquitoes from breeding and other information on dengue fever, check the Singapore National Environment Agency website.

    #5459
    Anonymous
    Guest

    With the leap on-line, a whole slew of employment-related websites has sprung up. It’s a potentially useful resource, but there are so many URLs touting information about jobs in China that it can be overwhelming and frustrating to sift through them for promising leads. Unfortunately, only a few of them seem to be maintained and updated with any regularity. In this section, we’ll tell you about the good, the bad and the ugly of China job sites.

    One thing to note about on-line listings in general: The breadth of careers represented is somewhat limited. If you’re no Corporate Johnnie, there may be fewer postings of interest to you. After the big companies, Internet start-ups and other technology-based companies make up the next largest percentage of jobs offered (duh, you are searching on-line, so this is their natural territory and obvious recruiting ground).

    ChinaHR.com and Zhaopin.com are the two most heavily advertised job sites, with billboards seemingly plastered at every other bus stop and inside each train in the subway. The advantage this confers is that both are regularly used by companies and jobseekers alike. It is worth checking back with their listings daily, because new openings are frequently added.

    Both of these “interactive recruitment networks” ask that you register (for free) as a member, which entails providing basic demographic information and an e-mail address. Your optional entries can also be compiled to make up a standardized resume which will be added to their on-line databases. Security and privacy issues are a legitimate concern, the trade-off being that there is an off-chance that your dream employer will run a search and come up with your name. ChinaHR.com boasts a database containing over 89,000 resumes, but they lacked hard data to show whether many employers really bother to use their files to recruit candidate hires.

    If you do choose to register and keep a resume on file with ChinaHR or Zhaopin, you can also apply for positions automatically through their site. Occasionally this will be the only way to apply for an opening when companies prefer not to disclose their contact information. However, if possible, it’s highly recommended that you take the extra effort to write to potential employers directly — you will have more control over the format and details of your resume, rather than submitting a fill-in-the-blank list. ChinaHR.com launched their internet-based recruiting service in August 1997 and their page keeps an exclamatory tally of impressive statistics (New jobs this week: 18,955! Total number of jobs:158,193!). Unfortunately, accessing this immense store of data is still problematic through the English-language version of the site. The target users for ChinaHR.com are local Chinese, and the development of the English side has lagged slightly. Under the advanced search function, you’ll still find some baffling search options that may have been poorly translated. If you want to find a job in the “Electron”, “Stationery” or “Air Conditioning” industries, ChinaHR.com has oddly found these fields worthy of their own separate categories.

    But beyond the quasi-amusing English phrasing, the far more serious problem with ChinaHR.com is that there is no way to screen your search results by language. If you cannot read Chinese characters, or if you lack Chinese software, it is time-consuming to download and scroll through a typically sized search result of about 350 postings when only a handful are in English. Individual job listings theoretically have both Chinese and English versions, but always load in Chinese first. If you link to the English, you are frequently stuck with either blank postings or gibberish. Even one listing that sought to fill an English editor position was simply unreadable in English except for a few words: “+~`^’-**-%*…1 person, Beijing, zip code 518031.”

    If you log in as a member of ChinaHR.com, you can also set your own job parameters and receive daily e-mail updates with links to the newly listed openings that fit your personalized criteria. However, the same drawback of mixed language postings remains.

    Zhaopin.com covers much of the same ground as ChinaHR.com, but since it has a language filter, it is a better alternative if you are running an English-only search. This site is more comprehensive in both languages. Zhaopin also provides “Career Guidance” if you feel you are in need. Articles offer up advice each step of the way: how to write an effective resume, how to ask pertinent questions in interviews, how to strategies in negotiating salary. Postings on Zhaopin.com are frequently updated, and most come from large, recognizable foreign corporations or smaller, local IT companies.

    ChinaHR and Zhaopin head the list of links for two main reasons: sheer volume of postings and geographical specificity. Both sites are sharply focused on employment services for mainland China and have searches based on job locations in at least 30 or 40 different Chinese cities. Other China employment sites which offer information in English are limited in comparison and may not merit frequent return visits, but they may still be worth checking in with. Some also have general coverage of Asia as a whole and include China as a single monolithic category for search. One thing to keep in mind is that a number of these sites may also be under ongoing construction, so perhaps they will only improve with further development. You never know where you may find a nugget of information that will turn into a good lead.

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