Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, is a mosquito-borne infection that can lead to a severe flu-like illness. It is caused by four different viruses and spread by Aedes mosquitoes.
What is Dengue
Dengue (DENG-gey) fever is a mosquito-borne disease that occurs in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Mild dengue fever causes a high fever, rash, and muscle and joint pain. A severe form of dengue fever, also called dengue hemorrhagic fever, can cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and death. Millions of cases of dengue infection occur worldwide each year. Dengue fever is most common in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific islands, but the disease has been increasing rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean. Researchers are working on dengue fever vaccines. For now the best prevention is to reduce mosquito habitat in areas where dengue fever is common.
Here we’ll discuss about the Dengue and its symptoms, causes, treatment and the prevention ideas.
Dengue Fever Symptoms
Many people, especially children and teens, may experience no signs or symptoms during a mild case of dengue fever. When symptoms do occur, they usually begin four to seven days after you are bitten by an infected mosquito.
Dengue fever causes a high fever — 104 F degrees — and at least two of the following symptoms:
- Muscle, bone and joint pain
- Pain behind the eyes
- Swollen glands
Most people recover within a week or so. In some cases, symptoms worsen and can become life-threatening. Blood vessels often become damaged and leaky. And the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your bloodstream drops. This can cause a severe form of dengue fever, called dengue hemorrhagic fever, severe dengue or dengue shock syndrome.
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Signs and Symptoms of Dengue — A Life Threatening Emergency:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Bleeding from your gums or nose
- Blood in your urine, stools or vomit
- Bleeding under the skin, which might look like bruising
- Difficult or rapid breathing
- Cold or clammy skin (shock)
- Irritability or restlessness
Causes of Dengue
Dengue fever is caused by any one of four types of dengue viruses spread by mosquitoes that thrive in and near human lodgings. When a mosquito bites a person infected with a dengue virus, the virus enters the mosquito. When the infected mosquito then bites another person, the virus enters that person’s bloodstream.
After you’ve recovered from dengue fever, you have immunity to the type of virus that infected you — but not to the other three dengue fever virus types. The risk of developing severe dengue fever, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, actually increases if you’re infected a second, third or fourth time.
Factors that put you at greater risk of developing dengue fever or a more severe form of the disease include:
Living or traveling in tropical areas. Being in tropical and subtropical areas increases your risk of exposure to the virus that causes dengue fever. Especially high-risk areas are Southeast Asia, the western Pacific islands, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Prior infection with a dengue fever virus. Previous infection with a dengue fever virus increases your risk of having severe symptoms if you’re infected again.
If severe, dengue fever can damage the lungs, liver or heart. Blood pressure can drop to dangerous levels, causing shock and, in some cases, death.
Dengue is a virus, so there is no specific treatment or cure. However, intervention can help, depending on how severe the disease is.
For milder forms, treatment includes:
Preventing dehydration: A high fever and vomiting can dehydrate the body. The person should drink clean water, ideally bottled rather than tap water. Rehydration salts can also help replace fluids and minerals.
Painkillers, such as Tylenol or Paracetamol: These can help lower fever and ease pain.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, are not advised, as they can increase the risk of internal bleeding.
More severe forms of dengue fever may need:
- Intravenous (IV) fluid supplementation, or drip, if the person cannot take fluids by mouth
- Blood transfusion, for patients with severe dehydration
- Hospitalization will allow the individual to be properly monitored, in case symptoms get worse.
- Rehydration salts, Tylenol, and paracetamol are available for purchase online.
No vaccine can protect against dengue fever. Only avoiding mosquito bites can prevent it.
Anyone who lives in or travels to an at-risk area can use a number of ways to avoid being bitten.
Clothing: Reduce the amount of skin exposed by wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and socks, tucking pant legs into shoes or socks, and wearing a hat.
Mosquito repellents: Use a repellent with at least 10 percent concentration of diethyltoluamide (DEET), or a higher concentration for longer lengths of exposure. Avoid using DEET on young children.
Mosquito traps and nets: Nets treated with insecticide are more effective, otherwise the mosquito can bite through the net if the person is standing next to it. The insecticide will kill mosquitoes and other insects, and it will repel insects from entering the room.
Door and window screens: Structural barriers, such as screens or netting, can keep mosquitos out.
Avoid scents: Heavily scented soaps and perfumes may attract mosquitoes.
Camping gear: Treat clothes, shoes, and camping gear with permethrin, or purchase clothes that have been pretreated.
Timing: Try to avoid being outside at dawn, dusk, and early evening.
Stagnant water: The Aedes mosquito breeds in clean, stagnant water. Checking for and removing stagnant water can help reduce the risk.
To reduce the risk of mosquitoes breeding in stagnant water:
turn buckets and watering cans over and store them under shelter so that water cannot accumulate remove excess water from plant pot plates scrub containers to remove mosquito eggs loosen soil from potted plants, to prevent puddles forming on the surface make sure scupper drains are not blocked and do not place potted plants and other objects over them use non-perforated gully traps, install anti-mosquito valves, and cover any traps that are rarely used do not place receptacles under an air-conditioning unit change the water in flower vases every second day and scrub and rinse the inside of the vase prevent leaves from blocking anything that may result in the accumulation of puddles or stagnant water When camping or picnicking, choose an area that is away from still water.
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