Dengue is a familiar term for all of us. It is a mosquito-borne infection that poses a high risk to people who are living in tropical and subtropical regions. 

It is important that you be aware of the signs and symptoms of the infection and the ways to prevent it.

What Is Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is a viral infection that can lead to a severe flu-like illness. 

Dengue is caused by four different viruses that are spread by the Aedes mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti). These mosquitoes are generally active during early mornings and during evenings. 

The 4 subtypes of dengue virus are DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4. Once infected, a person develops immunity to that particular subtype of the virus. 

Getting infected from one dengue virus does not protect you from the other subtypes.

How Does Dengue Spread?

Dengue is transmitted to humans by female Aedes mosquitoes. After the virus incubation, an infected mosquito is capable of spreading the virus for the rest of its life. 

These mosquitoes live in urban habitats and breed mostly in wet and humid areas. 

What Are The Symptoms of Dengue? 

Symptoms of dengue usually begin 4 to 7 days after the mosquito bite and typically lasts for 3 to 10 days. 

Common symptoms of dengue include:

  • Muscle and joint pain

  • High fever

  • Severe headache

  • Pain behind the eyes

  • Nausea and vomiting

Severe cases can lead to stomach pain, mild bleeding from the nose or gums and blood in vomit or stools.

How is Dengue Treated?

As dengue is a viral infection, there is no specific treatment or cure for the condition. 

The following measures can help in a faster recovery and in relieving the symptoms:

  • Viral infections can dehydrate your body and therefore drinking adequate water is necessary to keep yourself hydrated.

  • Take adequate rest and avoid any strenuous activities until you recover completely.

  • Over-the-counter drugs can help in alleviating symptoms such as fever and body pain. 

  • Severe forms of dengue will require medical attention and such cases might need IV fluid supplementation or blood transfusion. 

How To Prevent The Spread of Dengue Fever? 

Prevention is the most important aspect of the war against dengue. 

Mosquitoes breed in areas with stagnant water such as in drains, potholes, air coolers, rubber tires, containers and similar sources. 

  • Check and remove stagnant water in and around your home. Cleaning, emptying and covering of domestic water storage containers should be done regularly. 

  • Make sure to clean air coolers and vases with water once every 7 days.

  • Mosquito repellents, traps and nets can effectively help prevent the entry of mosquitoes inside the house. You can also place a mesh over the windows and doors.

  • Avoid being outside during dawn, dusk and early evenings.

  • Wear clothes that cover the body as much as possible. Shorts and half sleeves are better avoided.

  • While camping and picnicking, choose areas that are away from stagnant water.

  • Dispose of garbage properly and keep your surroundings clean.

Getting infected once does not protect you from future infections as there are four different dengue viruses. In many cases, the second time you get dengue, the symptoms are more severe. Therefore prevention is the key.

Although there is no specific treatment for dengue, early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates to less than 1%. 

If you notice any symptoms of dengue, make sure that you consult your doctor at the earliest.


Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.