With fluctuating temperature, there is a spurt in the cases of various illnesses. As the temperatures soar, mosquitoes start to breed and vector-borne diseases rise alarmingly. Even as we prepare to sizzle in the summer heat, we must watch out for dengue-carrying mosquitoes which now seem to thrive all-year round.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a virus. Dengue fever is spread by the bite of infected Aedes mosquito. Anyone who is bitten by an infected mosquito can get dengue fever and other symptoms.
- Avoid being bitten by a mosquito by-using mosquito repellent through the day and night
- When indoors, stay in air-conditioned areas. Use bed-nets if sleeping areas are not air-conditioned
- Wear loose-fitting but protective clothing. Trousers, long-sleeved shirts and socks and shoes (not sandals) are ideal
- Sleep under a mosquito net to avoid being bitten at night
- Be aware of your environment – mosquitoes causing dengue breed in stagnant water
- If you have symptoms of dengue, report your travel history to your doctor
To prevent mosquitoes from breeding, you should
- Cover water containers tightly
- Keep drains free from blockage
- Change the water in vases at least once a week
- Leave no water in the saucers underneath flower pots
- Throw used cans and bottles into covered dust bins
Anyone presenting with dengue fever symptoms
such as high fever, rash, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite should be screened for dengue. Especially after visiting a dengue infested zone.
There is no specific treatment or vaccines for dengue. It is treated symptomatically. Persons with dengue fever should rest and drink plenty of fluids like coconut water, fresh fruit juices, ORS, etc. The principle aim is to control the temperature fluctuation, maintain hydration and provide relief from joint pain. Since dengue is a viral infection, so antibiotics are of no use. Sufficient rest facilitates a quick recovery.
Dengue fever is a flu-like illness. Since the severity of the joint pain is so high it’s also called the ‘break-bone fever’. Mostly a rash usually appears three to four days after the onset of fever. Patient sometimes gets a transient flushing pink colour on face with glands in the neck and groin swelling up.
The complications of dengue are- Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) and Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS), where the platelet count reduces at an alarming level, resulting in bleeding. Along with all the other symptoms, there occurs bleeding from nose, gums and other openings of the body and bruising or appearance of bluish red marks as a sign of internal bleeding.
Dengue illness can last up to 10 days, but complete recovery can take as long as a month. Older children and adults usually feel sicker than young children.
Rush to the Hospital
If a patient develops any symptom of DHF or DSS, they should be rushed to the hospital immediately. In most cases, patient recovers quickly once the shock is reversed. In case of severe blood loss, whole blood transfusion is given. In case of low platelet count, platelet infusion is done.