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Fever. Exhaustion. Severe muscle and joint pain. Rash. I had classic dengue fever symptoms. The other night as I covered myself with a bed sheet to try and catch some shuteye, I instantly felt a severe itching crawling all over my body. I was hot. I had been exhausted for over a week, not even able to carry out my daily routine of walking for one hour each morning. I took an antihistamine and dozed off, only to awaken multiple times that evening. The next day, my skin, even more inflamed, my eyes red, my dengue fever scare in the Philippines hit the crisis mode. My asawa and I rushed off to the Guimaras Provincial Hospital’s Emergency room. Our local driver NoNo, who was still at home as we made our way to the local trike stand, quickly pulled a shirt on and delivered us to the health care facility in minutes.

guimaras provincial hospital

 

I made my way to the emergency room desk and instantly spied a young doctor who had treated me for my previous kidney stone attacks. As I spoke to the nurse on duty, the physician nodded at me, came over to where I was seated,  and quickly put a tourniquet on my right arm.

“This will be painful,”  he advised me.

“Can’t be any worse than my kidney stone pain, Doc,” I replied.

The tourniquet was tightened. I did feel some discomfort and after five minutes the affable doctor pointed to the red splotches on my arm.

“Good news,” he said, “it’s not dengue fever. Dengue fever spots are in a circle about the size of a five peso coin. You do have an allergy and we will take a blood test now to confirm it is not dengue.” 

At the Guimaras Provincial Hospital, there is no emergency room or charge for consulting the physicians on duty. However, all tests are paid for ahead of time, before they are done. The Dengue Blood Test cost a hefty 1,000 pesos, about 22.25 US dollars, but well worth the piece of mind.

A nurse came up to the table where I was seated to begin drawing my blood.

“They tried to take my blood five times at Great Saviour’s Hospital,” I informed the technician, “and they couldn’t get any blood from me. Even nurses in America have trouble drawing blood from me.”

“Stick him 50 times!” my doctor jokingly said.

But no problems, this nurse from the Guimaras Provincial Hospital was a pro. She had drawn my blood after one attempt and rather painlessly at that.

Guimaras provincial hospital

 

I was then instructed to lie down and was placed next to a lola in the next bed, who was coughing and gasping for breath. The doctor advised me that he was going to have me injected with a medication for my allergy and that most patients become groggy instantly afterwards.

After my wife paid for the shot, I was given the injection. Didn’t feel sleepy at all. Lola kept coughing My poor asawa’s face screwed up after each raspy, violent cough and I decided I would put on my shoes and get out of that area. We waited outside for the results of the blood test.

Thirty minutes later the doctor called us back inside. He confirmed I did not have dengue fever but my blood showed elevated levels for allergies and prescribed a week’s dosage of Ebastine Betamethasone, which he proclaimed was a powerful medication. Generics Pharmacy describes the drug as a treatment for allergies such as chronic hives. Each tablet costs 24 pesos, 53¢ in US currency.

The doctor instructed me to not eat any nuts, chicken, eggs or shellfish. I personally eat these foods all the time without any sign of the outbreak I now have and chowed down on french toast (made with eggs, of course) and Peter Pan Peanut butter yesterday morning, three days after the allergy. My eyes are still red and my chest, neck and arms still have some visible red splotches, but not as bad as a few days ago.

I still have nominal itching, very controllable, and personally think the liquid scented detergent and fabric softener  being used in our new washer is causing the allergic reactions. I cannot stand certain perfumes and dyes but my asawa informs me she cannot find any unscented laundry detergents. I thought unscented Tide detergent was available at the stores in nearby Iloilo but I will have to wait until we make a return shopping trip there to find out.

My dengue fever scare in the Philippines was over. Though I have been critical of the Guimaras Provincial Hospital in the past, I cannot praise the doctor and and the emergency staff enough. They quickly attended to my problem and were extremely helpful and caring. I was extremely happy with the healthcare services they provided for me and wouldn’t hesitate to go back. Beats sitting in a doctor’s office in Iloilo City for four hours.

7 thoughts on “My Dengue Fever Scare in the Philippines.

  1. Glad you didnt have Dengue fever, hope by the time you read this you all well on you way to a full recovery for whatever it is you have.

  2. Glad you are feeling better Dave.My wife and I have a place in a small town on Samar that has a free clinic that the locals complain
    the doctor is no good.Last time we were there I cut my hand bad,we went to the clinic, they took me right in and checked it out,asked me if I wanted stitchs I said no and they cleaned it up and put special bandage to hold it together gave me a shot and told me to come back in a day.they did a great job doctors and nurses,and when we offered them some money they said you don’t have to pay and that it was to much.I was very happy with there service.

  3. Dave,
    Glad everything turned out alright and you didn’t have dengue. I’m fortunate i have not had to deal with dengue or allergies. I have a good ENT Doctor here who will sit and explain things to you. I have had tinitus in my ears for about 1 1/2 months. Theres a buid up of mucous in my middle right ear that he thinks is causing it. Tried 2 different anti-biotics to get rid of it to no avail. He said he could put tubes in to drain it, but it is not guaranteed to work. I decided against it since the ringing is low and alot of the time i don’t even notice it, mostly when i go to bed and its quiet. He said sometimes it just goes away on its own. He said i could get a second opinion, but i told him it wasn’t necessary. I’m hoping when i go to the states the cleaner air will clear it up. Good news my Uric Acid is really low now, so they cut that medicine in half because she said if i stopped it the levels would go up again. Cholesterol is only 117, i think the lowest it has ever been. Kidney’s/Liver are fine too. I’m good now till end of february when my next blood work is.

  4. Dave – you must be a good writer. You’re the only guy who can write about dengue fever, kidney stones, and getting clocked by lolo and still make me want to run right out and move to the Philippines!

  5. After our annual trip to the Philippines 2 years ago, I was brought to the emergency room of Stanford Hospital for high fever. When the emergency room doctor found out I had just been to the Phil, he ordered me quarantined immediately. I was placed in a small room with an anteroom which had all sorts of quarantine equipment. Anybody who entered my room had to don white disposable gown, white plastic shoes, with disposable masks, etc. Medical students came in to take pictures of my legs, etc. I was a guinea pig being studied by the students. After a week of this and still the labs around the country had not identified anything alarming I was released but not before the doctor told me: There does not seem to be anything wrong with you but we think you may have had 4th degree dengue fever.. the mildest one. When my son who practices medicine in the Phil learned about it, he said we could have told him that the first few days you were in the hospital.

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