Dengue: Symptoms, Complications, and Treatment


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What is dengue?

Dengue is a debilitating, painful, flu-like, mosquito-borne tropical illness. It is transmitted through the bite of a female Aedes aegypti mosquito. The Aedes aegypti mosquito gets infected with a virus, called the arbovirus, when it bites a person who is already infected. The virus spreads through the mosquito’s system and spreads to its salivary glands, in a span of 8-12 days. After this period the mosquito can spread the virus to any human it feeds on.

You need to consult your family physician or a general physician if you observe the following symptoms:

  • continuous high fever (above 38.5 degree Celsius)
  • severe headache with pain behind the eyes
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • body pain

How does dengue occur?

Once the Aedes mosquito bites a person suffering from dengue, the arbovirus enters the mosquito’s system. After getting infected, when the mosquito feeds on another person, the arbovirus gets transmitted to the person.

The virus travels through his body and spreads to various glands in the body. It enters the bloodstream and causes inflammation of the blood vessels, causing them to swell and leak. This affects the blood flow in the body and can cause the body to go into a state of shock, as the organs do not receive the required amount of oxygenated blood.
You may suddenly experience high fever, chills, headaches, severe aches in the joints, enlarged painful lymph nodes in the neck and tremendous weakness.

What are the symptoms of dengue? How is dengue diagnosed?

Some common symptoms of dengue include: 

  • sudden high fever
  • skin rash due to damaged blood vessels
  • severe headache
  • severe joint and muscle pains
  • fatigue
  • vomiting
  • mild nose or gum bleeding
  • mild skin bruising

In the initial stages, some of these symptoms can be confused with flu or viral fever and especially chikungunya.


Dengue symptoms can often be confused with the symptoms of chikungunya. However, certain symptoms such as severe muscle pain is unique only to dengue. Whereas, debilitating joint pain is the unique feature of chikungunya. It is said dengue plus arthritis is equal to chikungunya.

These differences make the diagnosis clear.

Doctors may advise the following tests to rule out the possibility or diagnose dengue.

  • Antibody titer for dengue virus types
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for dengue virus types
  • Liver function tests
  • Complete blood count (CBC)

What are the complications of dengue?

The complications of severe dengue include:

  • damage to lungs, heart, or liver
  • haemorrhage
  • extremely low blood platelet count
  • dangerously low blood pressure leading to circulatory system collapse
  • death

What is the treatment for dengue?

There is no specific treatment for dengue. The doctor may advise you to take plenty of rest, fluids, and provide you painkillers. There are no specific antiviral medicines for dengue. Even while prescribing pain-killers, paracetamol is recommended for treating the pain and fever. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are never prescribed.

The usual treatment for the severe form of dengue consists of:

  • providing Intravenous (IV) fluid and electrolyte replacement
  • monitoring blood pressure
  • blood transfusion to replace blood loss, if any
Would you like to consult a doctor for Dengue ?

Patient Experiences

Rasika Urkude
Quick Relief From Dengue
I was suffering from Dengue fever..My platelet counts had dropped down severely. Went to a Doctor before were I was told admission in Hospital. I am in an IT company. Had been given an assignment to be completed and also a family to look after. Getting admitted itself scared me and raised many questions of management...Dengue word also scary and Platelet report got goose hair all over my body. Then one of my friend suggested me Dr Shilpa Dane Gaba's name for second opinion...She counselled me very well. I started my treatment at her Clinic. In 3- 4 days time my Platelet count went up to Normal level just with Medicines, Injection and Diet given to me by Madam;and I required no admission in Hospital. My Job was saved and so was my life..I am totally satisfied. Excellent Doctor, Excellent Diagnosis and Excellent Management style.... ✌...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Shilpa Dane
Dev Clinic
Effective Treatment for Severe Dengue
My whole family take treatment from Dr vikas mittal. He had saved many of our family members while they were critically ill from dengue fever. Every hospital had refused us for treatment because of severity of sickness. But Dr vikas mittal took the challenge and saved our life. We will be thankful to him whole life. He is best doctor of Jaipur and I would recommend him to everyone...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Vikas Mittal
Carewell Family Clinic
Ashish Nayak
Timely Treatment for Dengue
I had been to the Clinic for dengue treatment, and received excellent suggestions from the doctor and timely treatment. Would surely recommend for any medical needs. Thanks !!...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Salma Siddiqui
Pinnacle Health Care

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
I have fever from past 5 days, I have consulted a doctor, my platelets and wbc count is decreasing wbc is 2300 and platelets is 0.81 lakhs . I cannot see any improvement. today my dengue test was positive. please tell me the treatment for dengue. my doctor says that dengue treatment starts from 5th day. please suggest.
Dr. Harisha N L
General Physician, Bangalore
Hi there I understand your concern... There is no specific treatment for dengue its just supportive and symptomatic...treatment is mainly to reduce fever, prevent dehydration and to observe patient carefully...if you are not having spontaneous bleeding nothing to worry... Just consult nearest physician and get your platelets checked daily as count bellow 20k may lead to dengue shock syndrome in that case you will require platelets transfusion...Regards.
Dr. Anil Kumar Jain
General Physician, Bangalore
Hello there. 

I can understand your concern. 
You need to check your platelets daily till the platelets improve.
Dengue doesn't have a specific treatment and ots just symptomatic control.
Tab. Dolo 650 thrice or four times a day after food.
Have a soft diet and drink plenty of water.
Take rest.
Tab. Caripill thrice a day after food for 5 days. 
Consult a general physician in person for further evaluation and management.
Best regards.
Dr. Anil kumar jain.

Verified User
Hi i am 23 year old my height is around 4'11 please suggest if its possible to increase few inches desperately need a few inches please help
Dr. Chethan R S
General Physician, Bangalore
Hello there, Unfortunately, once you're done growing, that's pretty much it. Men grow height-wise until ~21 years old, although depending on the person they may experience slight changes until 25. For someone in their later twenties, you're already not producing the regul ar pulsatile bursts of growth hormone needed to stimulate longitudinal growth, but even if an exogenous source was provided, the growth region of the bone known as the epiphyseal plate has already shut down, so you'd only grow laterally. If you get doses of growth hormone as an adult, you develop a condition known as acromegaly.
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Did you know?

India has the highest number of dengue cases

It is believed that India has more cases of dengue than any other country of the world.

Dengue cases in India higher than officially reported

Disturbingly, dengue fever cases in India is nearly 300 times higher than what is officially reported. Dengue may prove to be fatal for people with cancer, diabetes, heart disease and thalassemia.

Women and children susceptible

Women and children are at a maximum risk from this disease. Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), which is a severe form of dengue fever, is a specific syndrome that usually affects children younger than 10 years of age. It can be fatal at times.

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Home Remedies

Drink Papaya Leaf Juice

Crush some papaya leaves and extract the juice. Drinking this raw juice will quickly bring up the count of blood platelets.

Drink Orange Juice

Drinking orange juice will help eliminate toxins from the body and help in boosting the antibodies of the immune system. It stimulates cellular repair, and is ideal for treating secondary symptoms of dengue and eliminating the arbovirus completely from the system.

Drink Barley Grass Tea

Drinking tea made of barley grass or the juice of barley grass too is immensely effective in bringing up the blood platelet count of the body. It also stimulates the production of new blood cells which counteracts the arbovirus in the body.

Drink Neem Water

Soak a handful of neem leaves in water for a couple of hours, or boil the leaves in water for a few minutes. Drink the water. This increases the blood platelet count and the count of white blood cells, both of which are dangerous for the dengue virus. The neem juice will return your strength faster compared to any other home remedies.