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Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: That Mosquito You Shouldn’t Ignore

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a serious complication of dengue, which can cause severe abdominal pain and persistent vomiting in people.

Ishaan Arora
Written by: Ishaan AroraUpdated at: May 16, 2023 17:10 IST
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: That Mosquito You Shouldn’t Ignore

Malaria & Dengue Day 2023: Fever Causes, Symptoms and Prevention Guide - Onlymyhealth

It’s just another day and you are hiding from the sun, enjoying a gentle breeze in your backyard. Suddenly, you feel a sting on your arm. You brush it off, assuming it's just another pesky mosquito bite. But ignoring it may be costly if it’s the season of dengue.

Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition caused by the dengue virus. It is transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes, commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions, such as India and large parts of Asia and Africa. While dengue infection can cause high fever, severe headaches, joint and muscle pain, and rash, DHF takes a more dangerous turn.

On this National Dengue Day, we spoke with Dr Monalisa Sahu, Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, to understand the causes, seriousness, and cure of DHF fever. 

What Causes Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever?

Dr Sahu said, “DHF is a complication of dengue, which some patients go on to develop. It is a severe and sometimes fatal form of the disease." 

She added, "Around the time of subsiding of dengue fever, usually three to seven days after symptom onset, some of the patients may develop warning signs of severe disease."

Also Read: National Dengue Day: How Dengue Can Turn Fatal For Diabetics

The signs include:

  • Severe abdominal pain, 
  • Persistent vomiting, 
  • Significant change in temperature ranging from fever to hypothermia,
  • Altered mental status (irritability, confusion, or obtundation). 

Some of the patients also go on to develop early signs of shock, including restlessness, cold clammy skin, rapid weak pulse and low blood pressure, which is known as dengue shock syndrome, according to Dr Sahu. She advised that patients with dengue fever with these symptoms should return to the hospital. 

How Serious Is Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever?

Severe DHF can have manifestations like mucosal bleeding, and plasma leakages like ascites and pleural effusion. Dr Sahu said, "A systolic blood pressure (pressure in your arteries when your heart beats) of less than 90 mmHg was associated with higher mortality. Altered consciousness and insatiable pulse rate are also associated with severe outcomes of DHF. Along with this, a patient may also suffer from multiorgan dysfunction.”

Also Read: National Dengue Day: Effects Of Dengue On Different Age Groups

Can Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever Be Cured?

Early identification of this complication of dengue and its appropriate timely management can decrease the chances of death to a great extent. "Monitoring the patient’s heart rate, skin colour, temperature, peripheral pulses and blood pressure is essential. We also need to look for any evidence of bleeding on the skin, and also look for any evidence of increased fluid accumulation in the body," Dr Sahu said. 

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