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Why is my doctor treating me for dengue, even though the blood test is negative? (Query)

Does low platelet count always indicate dengue?

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Updated : September 25, 2015 9:18 AM IST

I met a friend recently, who said that she suffered fever for 2 days and her blood report showed low platelet count. Her doctor recommended dengue NS1 antigen test, which came negative. After few days, even dengue antibody testing was done. But in the meantime her doctor started treating her for dengue. And two days later the result came negative. Why is this so? Does low platelet count always indicate dengue?

The question is answered by Dr. R.K.Singal, Principal Consultant & HOD Internal Medicine, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi.

Dengue is a viral disease in which the most common symptom is low platelet count. A normal healthy individual should have platelet count within the range of 150, 000 - 450,000 per microlitre of blood. Hence, if your platelet count falls below 150,000, it means that you suffer from low platelet count, medically termed as thrombocytopenia. And as far as dengue is concerned, you can only detect the condition with the help of a blood test an antigen test (NS1 antigen test) and an antibody test (serum IgM and Ig G). For the test to be positive, the time of the test is very important. For example, if the test for antigen is done after 6 days, the results might be falsely negative and thus, may need to be supplemented with an antibody test. Here is detailed information on diagnosis of dengue fever.

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According to Dr. R.K.Singal, there are no treatment options available to fight dengue specifically. The treatment is aimed at improving your blood platelet count and fight infection, if any, caused by the virus. If you are suffering from dengue, the only way to deal with it is monitoring your platelet levels and keeping your body hydrated through IV fluids. In some cases, haemoglobin levels also increase, which indicate urgent medical attention (or even hospitalisation).

As far as low platelet count is concerned, it can occur in case of viral infection as well. And the treatment in such cases is based on the cause of infection. And if you are at home or taking medications, ensure to increase your water intake. The key to quick recovery is to increase your water intake and avoid eating spicy, oily or packaged foods. To stay hydrated, try soups, coconut water, lemon juice, ORS or electoral powder and fruit juices. Here is a step-by-step guide for quick recovery from dengue.

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