What is dengue?
Dengue is a painful, enervating mosquito-borne disease caused by any of the four closely related dengue viruses. These viruses are even the cause of West Nile infection and Yellow fever. Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito that is a vector for dengue virus. When this mosquito bites a person, he/she gets infected with dengue and it can also spread from one person to another.
What are the symptoms of dengue?
Few of the mild symptoms of dengue are:
- High fever
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Skin rash
- Mild bleeding
Due to the mild symptoms, it can be mistaken as normal viral fever or infection and treated until the condition worsens.
Severe symptoms are:
- Hemorrhagic fever
- Damage to lymph nodes and blood vessels
- Bleeding from the nose and gums
- Liver enlargement
- Circulatory failure
People infected with dengue can suffer from shock and this is known as dengue shock syndrome (DDS). People with a weak immune system and with a second dengue infection are believed to be at higher risk for developing a hemorrhagic fever.
How to diagnose dengue?
The blood test is done to diagnose dengue virus. The doctor will ask the patient about travel history as this can help the doctor to evaluate the symptoms and the possibility of getting a localized virus.
What is the treatment for dengue?
The treatment for dengue infection is not specific. Mainly the doctor will prescribe pain relievers such as acetaminophen and will ask to avoid any antiplatelet or anticoagulant medication like aspirin as these can worsen any bleeding. The patient should rest plenty and consume fluids. If the patient feels worse even after the 24 hours of fever going down, then the patient should seek immediate medical attention to avoid any further complications.
How is dengue prevented?
The best way to prevent dengue is by avoiding mosquito bites. This can be done by protecting ourselves and keeping the mosquito population down by making efforts like:
- Using mosquito repellant, even when inside the house.
- While stepping out of the house wearing long sleeves shirts and pants and sock.
- The windows and door screen should be secure of free holes.
- Use mosquito nets.
- Get rid of any old tires, cans, flower pot, and other objects that are filled with water.
- Change the outdoor water bath for birds and pets.