Learn about the signs and symptoms of dengue fever. Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection which can lead to severe flu-like illness. It can sometimes lead to life threatening complication called dengue hemorrhagic fever. Usually people in the tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide are seen to have reported dengue fever.
How can you contract dengue fever?
Dengue is transmitted to by the bite of Aedes Aegypti mosquito which bites during the day. Dengue infection can vary in severity from mild acute febrile illness or can be even fatal. In some patients the virus can cause damage to the blood vessels that leads to leakage of fluid from the blood vessels (increase in vascular permeability) and bleeding problems known as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).
Vulnerable parts of the world
Dengue fever occurs frequently during and shortly after the monsoon season in:
- Southeast Asia and China
- Middle East
- Caribbean and Central and South America
- Australia and the South and Central Pacific
Symptoms of Dengue fever
Dr Poonam Sachdeva, general physician, enlists dengue fever symptoms—
- Abrupt onset of high fever which may be up to 105ºF
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe headache
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Pain behind the eye (Retro-orbital pain). The pain may worsen with eye movements
- Rash –measles-like rash may start over torso and extend to upper and lower limbs
Diagnosis of dengue fever
Dr Sachdeva adds, “Blood tests are done to confirm diagnosis of dengue fever. Some of the tests done are listed below.”
- Test for virus: The dengue virus can be identified from serum or autopsy tissue samples. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test is used to identify dengue virus.
- Test for dengue antigens.
- Test for antibodies: The Dengue ELISA test is done to test for IgG and IgM antibodies to dengue virus.
Home remedies for treatment of dengue fever
- Take adequate rest
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Do tepid sponging to reduce fever.
- Avoid aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to avoid bleeding complications.
- Drink papaya leaves juice.
- Boiled basil leaves should be served win warm drinks like tea.
How to prevent complications
- Prompt and judicious administration of fluids (oral and intravenous)
- supportive care (oxygen, medication for fever and pain, blood and platelet transfusion),
- and good monitoring (blood pressure, heart rate, and fluid status) in patients with DHF or DSS
Eliminating dengue risk
One can eliminate dengue risk by observing the following measure:
- Don’t let water collect in small containers or coolers.
- Use mosquito repellents on skin and clothing.
- When indoors, stay in air-conditioned or screened areas. Use mosquito nets.
- See a doctor if high fever continues for more than 3 days.
Dr Lona Mohopatra, Pathologist at Rockland Hospital says, “It is advisable that people take normal everyday precautions like wearing full-sleeved clothes, sleep in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms or using bed-nets. Moreover, people should use the mosquito repellents which contain DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) as they are the most effective ones.”
Is dengue an emerging infectious disease?
All kinds of dengue virus are re-emerging and are creating a scare among people. Various factors which are contributing to it’s re-emergence are –
- Delayed communication of the outbreak.
- The increase in non-biodegradable plastic packaging and discarded tires is creating new breeding sites for mosquitoes.
- Rapid growth of cities in tropical countries has led to overcrowding, urban decay, and substandard sanitation, allowing more mosquitoes to live closer to more people.
- Increased jet air travel is helping people infected with dengue viruses to move easily from city to city.
With the increase in all types of virus, the occurrence of dengue hemorrhagic fever becomes more likely.
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