Dengue is a flu-like viral disease that is transmitted through the bite of an infected female mosquito. This particular mosquito has a peculiar white spotted body and legs and is easy to identify. Generally, it tends to affect children under 10 years of age. Nevertheless, it is not transferred directly from person to person.
Symptoms of Dengue :
The symptoms of dengue usually surface 4-6 days after the infection manifests and lasts for up to 10 days. These may include:
- Sudden high fever
- Severe headaches
- Pain behind the eyes
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Skin rash, which appears 2-5 days after the onset of fever
- Mild bleeding (such as nose bleeding, gum bleeding or bruising)
Sometimes, these symptoms are mild and can be mistaken for those of another viral infection. Younger children and individuals who have never been infected earlier tend to have milder cases than older children and adults.
If unidentified and untreated, these symptoms can develop into serious health hazards, including Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF), a rare complication characterized by high fever, damage to lymph and blood vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, enlargement of the liver and failure of the circulatory system. The symptoms may progress to massive bleeding, shock and death, which is known as Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS).
Causes of Dengue
Dengue is spread by infected mosquitoes, usually the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus varieties. These mosquitoes bite during the day, mostly early in the morning or in the evening before dusk. These types of mosquitoes are generally found in pools of stagnant water â€“ for example, containers near building sites or other discarded human waste.
The transmission of the dengue virus is cyclical; a mosquito bites an infected human, the infected mosquito then bites another human and the cycle continues. Dengue can also be transmitted via infected blood transfusion and organ donation.
Treatment of Dengue
Primary stage dengue can be treated at home with sufficient rest and fluid intake for adequate hydration. Antibiotics should be taken only under a doctor's supervision.
More severe variations of dengue fever such as DHF or DSS usually require additional supportive treatments. These patients often require hospitalization for Intravenous (IV) rehydration, blood transfusion, platelet transfusion, blood pressure support and other intensive-care measures. Consultation with infectious-disease and critical-care specialists is advised to optimize patient care.
Prevention of Dengue
Here are a few tips to prevent and control the spread of dengue:
- Cover all water tanks, barrels and storage containers with airtight covers or wire mesh.
- Empty and scrub flowerpots, saucers and vases at least once a week to destroy mosquito eggs. Eggs can hatch into larvae in 3-6 days.
- Cut down or remove overgrown bushes that can harbor mosquitoes.
- Keep gutters and ducts clear of leaves and other debris.
- Use mosquito repellents, even while indoors.
- Ensure window and door screens are secure and free of holes. If sleeping areas are not screened or air conditioned, use mosquito nets.
While a dengue attack may be unforeseen, you can always plan to cover your family's financial risk due to such diseases. Avail a comprehensive health insurance policy to ease your financial burden and beat the rising healthcare costs.