Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection which affects a large number of populations every year.(1) The disease can be mild as well as deadly.
Dengue is a bone-breaking fever and can lead to flu-like illness. There are four different viruses types and is spread by Aedes mosquito.
The dengue symptoms vary from mild to severe, with severe symptoms including dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, which require hospitalization.
There are no vaccines available for dengue fever. The best method to prevent the disease is to avoid mosquito bites.
Signs and Symptoms of Dengue Fever
Symptoms of Dengue Fever depend on the severity of the disease.
In mild dengue fever, symptoms appear after 7 days after being bitten by the mosquito carrying the virus. The symptoms include:
- Aching muscle and joints
- Body rash
- High fever
- Pain behind the eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
Mild dengue rarely involves serious or fatal complications. The symptoms disappear after a week.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever may be mild but worsens within few days. Along with the symptoms of mild dengue, there would be internal bleeding.
The patient with dengue hemorrhagic fever might experience:
- Bleeding from mouth, gums, and nose
- Clammy skin
- Damage to the lymph and blood vessel
- Internal bleeding leading to black vomiting and stool
- Sensitive stomach
- Fall in the platelet count
- Weak pulse
- Small blood spots under the skin
- Dengue hemorrhagic fever can be fatal without prompt treatment.
Dengue shock syndrome is a severe form of dengue and can be fatal. Along with the symptoms of mild dengue fever the patient experiences:
- Excessive stomach pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Excessive vomiting
- Leaking of fluid from the blood vessel
Without proper treatment, dengue shock syndrome can result in death.
Ways To Prevent Dengue Fever
Preventing mosquito bites is a way dengue can be prevented. Those traveling to the high-risk areas should use preventive measures to avoid being bitten.
Reduce the amount of skin exposure by wearing long pants, long sleeves shirts, and socks. You can also wear a full brimmed hat to cover the head and neck.
Covering the body with clothes lessens the area where a mosquito can bite.
Mosquito repellents containing at least 10 percent of diethyltoluamide or higher concentration are effective for long length exposures.
However, they should not be used for young children as it can lead to a serious effect on them such as seizures.(2)
Mosquito Traps and Nets
Mosquito traps and nets are best for the infants as they can get allergic to the repellent creams or lotions.
Nets treated with insecticides are the more effective ones as they can repel the insects from entering the room.
Keep the Windows and the Doors Shut
The structural barriers such as doors and screen can restrict the entry of the mosquito in the house.
Keeping them close can restrict their entry.
Do Not Let The Water Stagnate
The Aedes mosquito breed in stagnant water, therefore removing the water can reduce the risk of dengue fever.
To reduce the risk of mosquito breeding in stagnant water:
- Turn the buckets and water cans upside down to avoid the water from accumulating
- Remove excess water from the flowering pots and plants
- Clean the containers to remove the mosquito eggs if any
- Prevent the puddles from forming by loosening the soil from the potted plants
- Change water in the flower vases frequently and clean the vase
- If going on a picnic or camping choose the areas which are away from still water
Dengue can prove to be a deadly fever and also has no vaccine. Along with protecting yourself protect the patient suffering from dengue to be bitten by a mosquito as that mosquito can become a carrier of the disease.
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