Contributed by- Dr. Snehal Singh
Are you worried about increasing number of dengue cases in your neighbourhood? Well, yes, dengue is a debilitating infection and can severely affect some. “Dengue fever” has increasingly become common in many areas and it needs to be controlled at once. As dengue can take a serious turn in some cases, being aware of the warning signs of dengue fever always help.
“Dengue” is a viral infection, spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and can affect almost anyone. While fever, headache, and joint pain are the common complaints, dengue rashes also need attention. It is popularly known as ‘break bone fever’, due to the severe pain in joints seen in dengue.
It is important to detect dengue on time to avoid complications. Effective laboratory tests for dengue have made it possible to make an early diagnosis. You can seek medical help on time and you can always go for a blood test to detect dengue. You can only protect yourself when you are aware of the warning signs of dengue, so it is necessary to understand the signs and symptoms of dengue.
What are the signs of dengue?
As mosquitoes are mainly involved in the spread of dengue fever, the infection is more common in tropical areas. Dengue is widely prevalent in India, but those frequent travelling to other tropical countries are at greater risk too. Adults and children both may get affected by dengue and those with a compromised immunity may get affected even more.
Some of the common dengue symptoms in adults include high fever with nausea with vomiting, headache, joint pains, body ache and severe pain in the eyes. This is considered as dengue fever stage 1. Ideally, these symptoms may last for 3 to 7 days, after which they should resolve. But, if they do not or if the condition worsens, medical attention is needed.
Children and teens may not show any symptoms in milder forms of dengue. Some may show mild symptoms, often between 4 days to 2 weeks, from being bitten by the infected mosquito. The symptoms remain more or less the same as those in adults and usually resolve in 2 to 7 days in uncomplicated cases.
Symptoms of dengue in babies may appear within 4 to 6 days after being infected. There is sudden, high fever, with pain in eyes, headache and body ache. Noticeable symptoms like nausea, vomiting, rashes on the skin may appear after few days, including bleeding gums and mild nose bleed. However, in babies too, there may be no symptoms in milder forms of dengue or the symptoms may not be well-identified. Also, as babies are unable to express their complaints, they must be properly evaluated.
In some cases, it may turn into a serious condition, which is potentially fatal. However, close monitoring, timely laboratory tests for dengue and appropriate treatment can help control the complications.
Some of the warning signs that call for immediate medical help are often seen in critical stages of dengue. The severe symptoms of dengue fever are often noted after the fever subsides. Some of those include:
- Heavy bleeding from nose or mouth
- Bleeding under the skin or bruising like red spots on skin
- Persistent vomiting and severe abdominal pain
- Black stools with blood
- Difficulty in breathing and other respiratory problems
- Pale and cold skin
- Excessive fatigue, drowsiness, and irritability
The warning signs clinically found, include liver enlargement, accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, decrease in platelet count, reduced blood pressure and sometimes organ failure. This is the most critical stage of dengue infection and may last for 1 or 2 days.
Following this, an improvement occurs, while in some unattended cases, severe complications can occur, proving fatal. In the recovery stage, the symptoms may gradually settle down. Some may experience itching and fatigue. As the condition is at greater risk of fatal complications, continuous monitoring with laboratory tests and initiation of early treatment is necessary.
How to cure dengue?
The most important aspect is the diagnosis of dengue. If based on the signs and symptoms of dengue, you seek medical advice, timely tests to detect dengue can be done. Accordingly, treatment is given for the symptoms and close monitoring with repeated laboratory tests for evaluation are needed. For severe cases, hospitalisation is required.
Dengue is a viral infection, which often runs its course and resolves on its own. Although there is no specific medication to cure dengue, there is much that can be done to promote recovery and prevent complications. Painkillers and fever medicine may be given, as appropriate. Vomiting and diarrhoea can cause dehydration, hence replacing the lost fluids is needed. Treatment includes replacing electrolyte salts and fluids and blood or platelet transfusion in some severe cases.
The best approach is to prevent dengue by keeping mosquitoes at bay and knowing the warning signs of dengue to seek immediate medical help. Medical science has made it possible to detect the virus causing dengue at initial stages; if you seek timely help.
So, be aware of “dengue and its symptoms”. Do everything to protect yourself from mosquitoes but if you note these symptoms, report at once. Dengue can be detected with blood tests.
“Be aware, be alert. Your early action can save a life”!!
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