Dengue Fever & how to handle it

Dengue (pronounced as Dengee), is a mosquito-borne disease in many tropical countries. Also known as break-bone fever, the infection can lead to severe flu-like symptoms. The illness is caused by four different kinds of closely related viruses spread by Aedes Mosquitoes. Over 350 million dengue infections occur worldwide with about 90 million resulting in illness. Dengue fever is transmitted by Aedes Mosquito. The mosquito becomes infected after it bites the person carrying the dengue virus in their blood. Severe symptoms include Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF). There are currently no vaccinations for the Dengue virus and the best measure one can take is to avoid mosquito bites.

Over 40 percent of the world population lives in areas with a high risk of Dengue transmission. It is endemic in at least100 countries. The treatment of dengue fever is possible if the patient is diagnosed before he/she develops DSS or DHF. Symptoms usually begin in 4-7 days after the mosquito bite and can last over 2 weeks. Dengue virus rarely causes death unless it progresses into a more serious condition called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.

Symptoms

– Aching muscles and joints

– Severe fever

– Pain behind eyes

– Rashes on the body

– Vomiting

– Intense headache

– Bleeding under the skin

– Abdominal pain

The more severe symptoms of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever often develop after the recovery stage starts.

Causes

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever can occur when bitten by the Aedes Mosquito or exposed to infected blood. Infected mosquitoes are the most common cause. There are 4 dengue viruses (DENV). All 4 viruses are spread by a species of mosquitoes known as Aedes Aegypti, and more rarely by Aedes Albopictus mosquito.

People with weakened immune systems as well those with second or subsequent infections are believed to be at a greater risk of developing a harsher fever. Once you are infected with one of the viruses, you develop an immunity to that virus for the rest of your life. But this immunity will not protect you from the other three viruses.

Treatment

As there is no vaccination for the virus infections, the goal of the treatment is to manage the symptoms from becoming more severe. If the condition is getting worse, emergency treatments such as hydration with intravenous fluids (IV). The electrolyte therapy and blood transfusion also help in managing the symptoms. Severe dengue fever is harder to treat because symptoms get worse at a faster rate.

Prevention

– Avoid going in residential areas that are heavily populated

– Use mosquito repellents and wear long-sleeved shirts & full pants

– Use mosquito nets and traps

– Avoid heavily scented soaps and perfumes as they attract mosquitoes

– Remove stagnant water wherever you find it in and around your house.

To reduce the population of mosquitoes, get rid of anything where mosquitoes can breed such as old tires and flower pots that collect rain.

Be prepared. Be safe.

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