Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease whose symptoms range from high fever and body pains to hemorrhagic fever, sudden blood pressure drops, and even death. This fever is most prominent during the season of monsoon and it is not contagious except in the case of giving birth, the mother can pass the virus to the child. Although if a person has had dengue before, they become immune to it. Research for developing dengue vaccines is being carried out throughout the world however, the best way for a person to protect themselves is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
What causes Dengue fever?
There are a total of four types of viruses that can cause dengue. When a mosquito bites a person who is infected with the dengue virus, the mosquito becomes the carrier for the virus and when the same mosquito bites a healthy individual, the virus enters the bloodstream of that person and causes them to become infected.
Once a person becomes infected with the virus and reverse, they get immunity from that particular type of virus but not against the remaining three.
What are the symptoms of Dengue?
Most of the symptoms of Dengue are similar to common flu and surface around after 6 – 10 days after infection. The main symptoms include the following
– High fever
– Headache and pain behind the eyes
– Nausea and vomiting
– Fatigue and Skin Rash
For a majority of people, the symptoms are usually mild and most people recover within the span of a week. However, for people who already have an infection along with dengue or who have a weak immune system, the effects of dengue become serious and become a medical emergency. The main symptoms of a severe case of dengue are
– Extreme Fatigue
– Difficulty in breathing
– Bleeding gums and nose
– Presence of blood in urine, vomit, or stool
The presence of any of the following symptoms in a person is a life-threatening medical emergency and one is required to seek immediate medical care.
Methods of diagnosis
The doctor will first ask the patient about their recent travels and their medical history. One should provide as many details as possible as the symptoms of dengue have a close resemblance to symptoms of chikungunya, malaria, and typhoid. Further blood tests will be carried out to confirm the infection causing the symptoms.
Method of treatment
There is no specific medicine to treat dengue. The treatment deals with managing and relieving the symptoms and letting the immune system take care of the infection. Here are the steps one should take for a smooth recovery
– Consuming surplus amounts of fluids to keep the body sufficiently hydrated.
– Providing as much rest to the body as possible.
– Taking pain relievers like acetaminophen.
One should never consume ibuprofen or aspirin to relieve pain as they can lead to life-threatening internal bleeding.
Methods of prevention
The best way to fight dengue is by preventing mosquito bites. Hence one should take the following measures to make sure they minimize the risks of getting dengue.
– Wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers when going outside to minimize the part of the skin exposed to mosquitoes.
– Use mosquito repellent indoors especially during sunset when it’s the peak time for mosquitoes.
– Installing window screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house.
– Sleeping inside mosquito nets.
– Make sure the grass around your house is properly trimmed.
– Remove all the stagnant water in and around your house as it acts as a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.