What are the complications of dengue?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 22, 2015

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Quick Bites

  • Chronic dengue could lead to DHF or DSS.
  • Severe DSS can lead to massive bleeding and even death.
  • Febrile convulsion is another complication.
  • Seek immediate medical help to prevent the disease progression.

Getting bitten by a mosquito, travelling to or living in dengue endemic areas, or a repeated infection with another serovar of dengue virus can all give you dengue.

A dengue fever gone wrong can cause complications in the more severe forms of itself like DHF (dengue hemorrhagic fever) or DSS (dengue shock syndrome). It can also cause febrile convulsion (a seizure which happens when the normal brain activity is disturbed by a fever) and dehydration.

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever

The risk factors for developing dengue hemorrhagic fever include:

  • having antibodies to dengue virus from a previous infection
  • being under the age of 12
  • being female
  • Caucasian race
  • weakened immune system

dengue complications

This rare form of the disease is characterized by:

  • high fever
  • damage to the lymphatic system
  • damage to blood vessels
  • bleeding from the nose
  • bleeding from the gums
  • liver enlargement
  • circulatory system failure

The symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever can trigger dengue shock syndrome. Dengue shock syndrome is severe, and can lead to massive bleeding and even death. Shock (dengue shock syndrome) and haemorrhage (dengue hemorrhagic fever) occur in less than 5% of all cases of dengue, however those who have previously been infected with other serotypes of dengue virus ("secondary infection") are at an increased risk. This critical phase, while rare, occurs relatively more commonly in children and young adults.

dengue complications

What to Do

If you have any of the symptoms of severe dengue, you should seek immediate medical help to prevent the disease progression.

You will probably need to be admitted to hospital and given fluids via a drip into one of your blood vessels to prevent dehydration and stabilise your blood pressure.

With treatment, the vast majority of people make a rapid recovery and are usually well enough to leave hospital after a few days.

Self Care at Home

A person suffering from dengue can use some simple supportive care. If the disease has not transgressed to a chronic condition, adequate oral hydration, and pain control with non-NSAIDs is enough treatment.

But, in case of patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever or with dengue shock syndrome, home care can’t help. These complications may call for medical emergencies, depending on the patient’s condition.

Image source: Getty Images

Read more articles on Dengue Causes and Risks


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