Symptoms of Dengue

November 12, 2012

Symptoms of Dengue

Dengue infection is one of the main causes of death and illness in the tropics and sub-tropics. Dengue is caused by one of four related viruses which is transmitted by mosquitoes. At present there are no vaccines available to avoid infection. Protective measures should be taken to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. If infected seek medical treatment promptly as this can reduce the chance of the disease developing further.

The main symptoms of dengue are having a high temperature and fever along with two or more of the following:

  • White cell count is low

  • Rash

  • Severe pain behind the eyes

  • Pain in joints, bones and muscles

  • Rash

  • Bruise easily, gum or nose bleeds, petechiae

Young children and people with their dengue infection for the first time tend to experience a milder illness compared to adults and older children.

Look out for the signs of a drop in body temperature between 3 and 7 days after the symptoms of dengue began appearing. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below go straight to hospital:

  • Breathing difficulties

  • Nose or gum bleeds

  • Vomiting blood

  • Tarry, black stools

  • Cold, clammy, pale skin

  • Red patches or spots on the skin

  • Irritability or drowsiness

  • Severe pain in the abdomen or constantly vomiting

One of the DHF (Dengue hemorrhagic fever) characteristics is fever which may last between 2 and 7 days along with the symptoms of dengue fever. As the fever starts to decline the development of warning signs may appear. This stage is the start of a period of 24 to 48 hours when the capillaries become permeable and this lets the fluid flow from the blood vessels into the peritoneum and nose or gum bleeds and sometimes internal bleeding.

Treatment of symptoms of dengue

At present there is no particular medication in treating the symptoms of dengue infection. Medicines which can be taken to provide pain relief are analgesics with acetaminophen. Don’t use Naproxen, aspirin or medication with aspirin in it or ibuprofen. Take plenty of rest and make sure you drink lots of fluids to keep the body hydrated. If you can avoid mosquito bites while febrile and contact your doctor.

There is no particular medicine given for DHF. Should the diagnosis be made early DHF can be treated effectively with fluid replacements. To manage this admission to hospital can be expected.

Reducing the risk of dengue infection

As there are no vaccines or medications available to treat dengue infection, prevention is crucial. If you can avoid mosquito bites if you live in an endemic area.

Make sure there is no standing water outdoors, empty water from plant containers and clean pet dishes as these are the areas mosquitoes like to lay their eggs. Make sure water storage containers are covered.

Adult mosquitoes will bite inside and outside of the home, day or night when lights are on. Use repellent for protection while inside and outside. Where possible wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Use air conditioning if it is available. Ensure door and windows are locked securely.

If there is someone ill in the home with dengue, precautions should be taken to stop them being bitten. Use a mosquito net when sleeping and always wear an insect repellent.

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