PETALING JAYA- Papaya leaf juice has been shown to increase blood platelet count and assist in the recovery of those with lesser complications, health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.
"The damage from dengue infection could be more than a platelet count issue, such as blood plasma leakage or dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure could occur," he said.
In April last year, the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 61673 published findings showing that the consumption of Carica papaya leaf juice induced rapid increase in platelet count in patients with grade one and two dengue fever and the fatal dengue haemorrhagic fever.
The Institute for Medical Research and the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, Klang, carried out a randomised controlled trial on 228 patients in the hospital.
Half were administered with 50gm of fresh Carica papaya juice for three consecutive days and the other half received standard management.
There was a significant increase in platelet count among the patients in the experimental group compared to those in the control group.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Dietician Association president Prof Dr Winnie Chee said staying hydrated was crucial for patients with dengue fever.
"Fluid intake should be at frequent intervals to compensate for the loss from sweat and to permit adequate volume of urine for excreting wastes," she said.
Dr Chee said calorie and protein intake should be increased by as much as 50 per cent of the daily requirement.
"A high calorie diet with frequent feeding should be given as soon as fever is controlled but one should avoid fried and oily foods during fever," she said.
Easily digested protein such as milk, eggs, fish, poultry and legumes was necessary to replenish loss of tissue proteins during fever, she said.
"As soon as the temperature comes down, readily digestible bland food should be given to the patient for better digestion and rapid absorption," she said, adding that iron supplements might be necessary for those recovering from dengue haemorrhagic fever.