Dengue – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Dengue is a painful mosquito-borne viral infection spread by aedes aegypti mosquito.  The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person who is already infected with dengue virus in their blood. The disease can’t be spread directly from one person to another person & it spreads only through mosquito bite. The mosquito acts as a carrier of the dengue virus.

According to WHO (World Health Organisation), millions of people are infected by the virus every year. However, the disease becomes more fatal in small proportion when it becomes Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) resulting in mild bleeding in gums, nose, low blood pressure, and low levels of blood platelets or dengue shock syndrome. This infection is very common during rainy season & can affect anybody, irrespective of their age and gender.

Causes of Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is caused by one of four dengue viruses (DENV-1 to 4). It is spread by the bite of infected female aedes aegypti mosquito to human. The infection begins when the dengue virus infected person is bitten by a mosquito (most commonly aedes aegypti mosquito). Each type of dengue virus can infect you only once. The risk of infection is more in areas where the population is dense, poor sanitation & the stagnant water environment that helps for mosquito breeding.

Symptoms of Dengue Fever

Dengue symptoms typically begin three to seven days after the infection (incubation period) and lasts for up to 10 days.

Common symptoms include

High fever

Headache

Pain behind the eyes

Severe joint and muscle pain

Fatigue

Nausea, abdominal pain & Vomiting

Skin rash or Res spots

Swollen lymph glands

The infection becomes fatal (dengue hemorrhagic fever) if you find these symptoms,

Mild bleeding in nose, and gums.

Damage to lymph and blood vessels

Failure of the circulatory system

Low blood platelets count

Low blood pressure

Sensitive stomach

Red spots & skin rashes

Weak pulse

People with weakened immune systems are believed to be at greater risk for developing fatal dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). This may lead to failure of the circulatory system and also Dengue shock syndrome, and possibly death without prompt, appropriate treatment.

Diagnosing Dengue Fever

There is no specific test to diagnose the Dengue fever because its symptoms overlap with other forms of fever. Doctors can diagnose the infection with a complete blood test (CBC) to check for the virus or antibodies to it.

Treatment for Dengue Fever

There is no specific medicine or antibiotics to treat dengue fever. If you find these symptoms you should consult doctor as early as possible to prevent worsening of the infection. Avoid treating yourself, which could make the disease more fatal. You should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and consult your doctor for better treatment.

Home remedies such as rest and fluid intake (oral rehydration) are important. Other home remedies and pain relievers should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision because of the possibility of more complications.

Early recognition & proper medical care helps in decreasing the infection becoming more fatal.

Preventing Dengue Fever

There is no specific vaccine to prevent dengue fever. The best way to prevent the disease is by protecting yourself by infected mosquito bites.

Below are the Few Tips to protect you from mosquito bites:

Stay away from heavily populated areas, if possible.

Use mosquito repellents, even indoors.

When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks & well covering clothes.

Use Air-conditioning or well screened housing if possible.

Use mosquito nets & make sure your window and doors are secure & properly screened to avoid mosquito.

Stay away from places where mosquitoes can breed. Avoid things like old tires, unused plastic buckets, cans, or flower pots that have the capability to collect the water. Regularly change the water in outdoor if you kept it for pets.

Try to avoid the excess / stagnant collection of water as it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Plant a Tulsi plant to keep the mosquitoes away.

Always clean the dustbins, unused containers and do not let any dirt get collected to avoid mosquitoes.

Light camphor inside the house, which help in keeping the mosquito away.

If someone in your home gets dengue fever, make efforts to protect yourself and other family members from mosquitoes. Mosquitoes that bite the infected family member could spread the infection to others in your home.

Is Dengue Fever Contagious?

Dengue fever is not a contagious disease& it doesn’t spread directly from person to another. However, the person suffering from dengue fever can infect the mosquitoes. The disease can only be transmitted from the bite of an infected mosquito. So it is very important to prevent the mosquito breeding to protect from dengue infection.

VMEDO (formerly Blood For Sure) is the India’s Best Medical Emergency app, which assist people during their medical emergencies by connecting to the nearest emergency responder (First aid, ambulance, hospital, blood bank, blood donor etc). To download VMEDO app visit https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.areratech.bloodforsure&hl=en

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