India’s monsoon season is looming and, with it, the prospect of outbreaks of mosquito-borne infectious diseases such as dengue fever. Dengue (pronounced DENgee) fever is a  mosquito-borne disease caused by dengue viruses. A person gets dengue from the bite of infected Aedes mosquito. Mosquito bites and sucks blood containing the virus from an infected person and passes the virus to healthy people when it bites them. Today, Dengue fever is considered the world’s fastest-growing mosquito-borne disease.

Symptoms and signs

1. As we all know the most common symptom of Dengue is fever. Fever is generally high grade and intermittent. There are generally 2-3 spikes of fever per day and fever lasts for 5-7 days.

2. Bodyache is universal in dengue. Bodyache is so severe that it is also called as "Breakbone fever". Because of severe body pain kids generally become irritable or dull and lethargic.

3. Most Kids complain of headache. Headache is mostly with the onset of fever and generally localized to forehead or behind eyes.

4. Flushing of face( redness of face) is generally appreciable with onset of fever

5. Most people develop reddish rashes and small pinpoint reddish dots on body after 3-4 days of fever.

Things you should know about Dengue

1. Dengue fever is a viral fever and like all other viral illnesses it resolves itself with in 7-10 days. Around 90% of children recover without any complication/ problem.

2. Only around 10 % of patients develop complication of dengue.

3. The two main problems in dengue are loss of fluid in body spaces (leading all other major complications) and decrease in platelet count (leading to bleeding problems).

4. It's hard for any doctor to differentiate between any other viral fever and dengue fever. Blood test is the only way to tell.

5. Most of the problems of dengue fever starts after 3-5 days of illness. Most critical time in dengue is when fever subsides.

6. There is a rapid card-based test for dengue which gives result with in an hour. This test can be falsely negative in first 72 hours of fever (Test result can show no dengue even if dengue is there). The best time to do dengue test and other blood test is after 3 days of fever.

What parents should do

1. Dengue is a self-limiting viral illness and causes problem only in 10% of cases, so parents should not worry if their child is diagnosed to have dengue fever.

2. As dengue cause fluid loss, you should encourage your child to take lot of oral fluids. Soup, Juices, glucose water, normal water, milk anything can be given. Give enough fluid so that your kid passes urine once in every 4-6 hour.

3. For fever give paracetamol and only paracetamol. Aspirin and few other drugs can cause further decrease in platelet and can cause severe bleeding. Do not give any medication without consulting your doctor.

5. No one can predict that which child will have complication of dengue, so it is advisable to admit your child if he or she is diagnosed dengue.

6. Trust and talk to your doctor. He is the best person to tell you about your kids condition and plan his treatment.

How can you prevent dengue

1. As dengue is caused by mosquito-bite only, preventing mosquito-bite and  preventing mosquito breeding  are most effective way of preventing Dengue.

2. Personal protection such as Mosquito repellent creams, lotion, sprays etc to be used when kids go outside to play. Mosquito nets and mosquito proof mesh for windows and balconies to be used.

3. Aedes mosquito bites mainly in daytime and during evening hours, so using mosquito nets or mosquito repellent coils/ electronic kits only at bed times will not help much.

4. Mosquito causing dengue i.e. Aedes mosquito (Tiger mosquito) breeds in water collected around houses. So removing all sources of stagnant water is best way to prevent breeding of mosquito                    

            a) Remove water from flowerpot plates and dry them every alternate day                   

            b) Remove water from flower vase every alternate day                  

            c) Turn over all pails and water storage containers after use                    

            d) Do not litter. Rubbish such as cups and bottles can collect rain water and breed mosquitoes.

            e) Over head tanks to be should be covered properly & should be emptied and dried at-least once in a week.

5. Till date there is no vaccine to prevent you from Dengue.