That Skin Rash Can Be a Signal of Dengue Fever; Know About It

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 06, 2011

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Quick Bites

  • Dengue causes rapidly rising fever lasting three to seven days.
  • After this period, skin rash appears in 50 to 80 per cent of patients.
  • There may be many reddish spots and reddish bumps under the skin.
  • The rash may become grouped together to involve most areas of the skin.

Dengue fever is contracted by the bites of Aedes mosquito. Unlike mosquitoes that spread malaria and other diseases, Aedes mosquitoes bite during the day, making it difficult for one to avoid the risk of being bitten. Usually, the Aedes mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.


Dengue fever rashesNow, once bitten by a dengue carrying mosquito, symptoms can show up within a couple of day’s time. Diagnosis of dengue fever can be done through blood tests. Few symptoms of dengue are rashes, high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain.

A skin rash appears in 50 to 80 per cent of patients. There may be many reddish spots, reddish bumps and reddish/purplish blood spots under the skin. The rash may become grouped together to involve most areas of the skin, with small islands of normal skin in-between.

The rash typically begins on the hands and feet and then spreads to the arms, legs and trunk. It is not usually itchy in most cases. The rash can last from hours to several days and usually resolves without any stripping of the skin. Some individuals may get small fluid-filled bumps inside the mouth and/or redness and crusting of the lips and tongue. There are other viruses, bacteria and drugs which may cause rashes similar to dengue fever.

Understanding dengue fever rashes

Dengue rashes present themselves a few days after the onset of dengue fever. Before the rashes appear, an individual can experience hot flushes on the face. These dengue rashes are like red dots and appear all over the body. Hands and feet can turn red and appear swollen too.


Three different kinds of dengue fever rashes

Now let’s understand three different kinds of dengue fever rashes which appear at some stage of the infection.

  • Petecial rash: Petecial rash usually manifests as bright red dots on the surface of the skin. These dengue rashes develop due to bleeding under the skin surface.
  • Bright red rash: Bright red rash has measles-like appearance. The redness may remain dominant in some parts while others may remain unaafected. These rashes may disappear after a few days, only to reappear again.
  • Lesions: Lesion is the third kind of rash which may present itself either as flat or raised red lesion on the skin.

Medical personnel may perform a tourniquet test and laboratory tests to help diagnose and manage this disease. There is no specific curative drug available, and so treatment is supportive. This includes fluid replacement, rest and possibly hospitalisation. Pain can be treated with drugs like paracetamol. Aspirin and drugs like ibuprofen should be avoided in affected persons. Insect repellents, screens, coils, nets, vapour mats and the elimination of mosquito, breeding sites are critical to preventing the spread of dengue fever in our communities.

Rashes on skin accompanied by itching should be taken seriously and proper diagnosis must be done for them. Diagnosis via blood tests would determine and ascertain if the condition is as serious as dengue or not.


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