Dengue (DEN-gee) fever is a mosquito-borne infection ,which is transmitted by the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, which are found throughout the world.Symptoms range from mild to severe.The virus can cause fever, headaches, rashes, and pain throughout the body. Most cases of dengue fever are mild and go away on their own after about a week.But Severe symptoms include dengue shock syndrome (DSS) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), which usually requires hospitalization.
Causes of Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever occurs when a mosquito carrying the arbo virus bites a healthy human being. If this mosquito bites someone else, that person can also be infected with dengue fever. The virus can’t spread directly from person to person. Once it enters in your body, a period of incubation occurs. During this time (which lasts about five to eight days) the virus travels to various glands where it multiplies .The virus can even enter into the bloodstream. The presence of the virus within the blood vessels causes swelling and leaking which may lead to severe bleeding (hemorrhage). In this case Dengue fever can be life-threatening and needs urgent treatment.
Signs & Symptoms of Dengue Fever
In cases of younger children and those who have the disease for the first time, generally the symptoms of dengue fever are mild. But, the symptoms of dengue fever are moderate to severe in older children, adults, and those who had been previously infected. Some of the common signs and symptoms include:
- aching muscles and joints
- body rash that can disappear and then reappear
- high fever, possibly as high as 105°F (40°C)
- severe headache
- pain behind the eyes
- mild bleeding from the nose or gums
- vomiting and feeling nauseous
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These Symptoms can start anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito and usually disappear after a week. Mild dengue rarely involves serious or fatal complications. But in case of Dengue hemorrhagic fever ,the symptoms gradually worsen within a few days.
some of the common signs and symptoms of Dengue hemorrhagic fever include:
- cold or sweaty skin
- bleeding from the mouth, gums, or nose
- damage to lymph and blood vessels
- internal bleeding, which may lead to black vomit or stools
- a lower number of platelets in the blood
- severe abdominal pain.
- small blood spots under the skin
- weak pulse
- large decrease in blood pressure
If DHF goes untreated, it can be life-threatening .
How to Diagnose Dengue Fever
If you think you have the above symptoms or have recently been to a region that has dengue fever and has a fever or severe headache, call a doctor right away. To make a diagnosis, generally the doctor will evaluate your symptoms, medical history, recent travels and finally will send a blood sample for testing.
How to treat Dengue Fever
Once your doctor determines the infection, he will precede with the treatment. Since no specific treatment is available for dengue fever, generally mild cases are managed with plenty of rest and lots of fluids which prevents dehydration . In some cases Pain relievers with acetaminophen can be administered for headaches and body pain. But Pain relievers with aspirin or ibuprofen are completely avoided, as they can lead to bleeding .
In most cases of dengue, the fever goes away within a week or two. But in case of severe symptoms seek immediate medical help as it could be an indication of DHF. To treat severe cases of dengue your doctor will give intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes (salts) to replace those lost through vomiting or diarrhea. If you start early, this is usually enough to effectively treat the disease. But in advanced cases,patients may require blood transfusion.
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Prevention of Dengue Fever
Since there’s no vaccine to prevent dengue fever, all efforts should be made to prevent the illness from spreading to others. Anyone who lives in or travels to an at-risk area can use a these ways to avoid the infection.
- Use mosquito screens on doors and windows or keep doors and windows shut.
- While going out wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, and socks.
- Use mosquito nets at night.
- Use mosquito repellent.
- Avoid heavily scented soaps and perfumes as they attract mosquitoes.
- Try to avoid being outside at dawn, dusk, and early evening.
- The Aedes mosquito breeds in clean, stagnant water.
- So removing stagnant water can help reduce the risk.
- So be sure to change the water in birdbaths, dog bowls and flower vases at least once a week.
Scrub containers to remove mosquito eggs.
- When camping or picnicking, choose an area that is away from still water.
So take these precautions, prevent Dengue infection and stay healthy.