Dengue, some call it malaria’s cousin, is a debilitating illness caused by mosquitoes. 40% of the world’s population live in places that are at high risk of dengue.
The symptoms of dengue are similar to the flu. There are four categories of viruses that cause dengue, these viruses are carried by the Aedes mosquitoes.
Dengue turns severe when you observe symptoms like dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. If anyone has these symptoms then immediate hospitalization is required. Dengue can be effectively treated if it is diagnosed early.
The symptoms of dengue vary according to the severity of the condition –
In the mild version of dengue, the symptoms stay for 7 days and disappear after that.
You will notice the following signs –
- Intense headache
- Painful joints and muscles
- The region behind the eye will be painful
- You may experience nausea and vomiting
Mild symptoms of dengue do not generally cause fatal complications.
Dengue haemorrhagic fever
In dengue haemorrhagic fever, the symptoms are mild at the beginning. But they gradually turn severe in just a few days.
You may observe the following symptoms –
- Your lymph nodes and blood vessels are damaged
- Your mouth, gums and nose may bleed
- The skin will be clammy
- Platelet count in blood will drop
- A sensitive stomach
- Pulse may weaken
- Blood spots may appear on the skin
Dengue shock syndrome
A severe form of dengue, dengue shock syndrome can turn fatal.
The symptoms of dengue shock syndrome are similar to mild dengue. In addition, one may also experience,
- Heavy bleeding
- Low blood pressure
- Extreme stomach pain
- Fluid can leak from blood vessels
What is the treatment for dengue?
There is no specific treatment for dengue virus.
If the symptoms are mild then treatment includes rehydration and painkillers. Symptoms of dengue such as fever and vomiting can cause the body to be dehydrated. So the patient needs to keep sipping clean water with rehydration salts. Remember to avoid tap water as contaminated water can aggravate the problem.
Consumption of papaya leaves can also help with raising your blood platelet counts to normal levels.
For severe symptoms of dengue, IV drip is administered if the person can’t ingest fluids. For people who are severely dehydrated, blood transfusion is required.
In severe cases, hospitalization is required so that the patient can be monitored regularly to prevent the worsening of symptoms.
How can you prevent dengue?
Since dengue can be a fatal disorder, you have to take all the necessary precautions to prevent it.
Here are a few ways dengue can be prevented –
If you are in a mosquito-infested region then ensure you always use mosquito repellents, A good repellent contains a large concentration of diethyltoluamide (DEET). Note that this chemical should not be used on children.
Choose your clothing wisely
No half-sleeved shirts and half pants! You have to ensure that your skin is covered to the maximum extent possible. So wear full-sleeved shirts, long trousers, and shoes. You can also wear hats to protect the head area.
A mosquito net is an effective deterrent against mosquitoes. While sleeping, ensure that you are using one.
Block your windows and doors
You can use nets on your windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
Don’t use scents
Using perfumes that are heavily scented can make you a target for the mosquitoes.
You need to include plenty of vegetables and fruits to keep your immune system in peak shape. Eating processed foods and other unhealthy foods can cause your body’s defences to weaken and make it easy for mosquitoes to infect your body.
Stay away from stagnant water
Pools of water that have been stagnant water are breeding grounds for dengue causing mosquitoes.
Dengue can be prevented if you follow the preventive measures carefully. Ensure that you get tested immediately if you think you have symptoms of dengue.