Dengue Fever:signs, symptoms and prevention.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms typically begin three to fourteen days after infection. This may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. Recovery generally takes two to seven days.

In a small proportion of cases, the disease develops into severe dengue, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.

Signs and symptoms

Typically, 80% of people infected with dengue virus are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms such as an uncomplicated fever while Others 5% have more severe illness and in a small proportion it is life-threatening.

The incubation period (time between exposure and onset of symptoms) ranges from 3 to 14 days, but most often it is 4 to 7 days. Therefore, travelers returning from endemic areas are unlikely to have dengue if fever or other symptoms start more than 14 days after arriving home.

Children often experience symptoms similar to those of the common cold and gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) and have a greater risk of severe complications, though initial symptoms are generally mild but include high fever.

Prevention

1.) Stay indoors or under a mosquito net during peak mosquito times. The mosquito may feed at any time during the day, especially indoors, in shady areas, or when it is overcast.

The dengue mosquito has two peak periods of biting activity: in the morning for several hours after daybreak and in the late afternoon for several hours before dark.

Make sure you sleep indoors in a screened or air conditioned building or that you sleep under a mosquito net (or both).

2.) Get rid of standing water in your area. Help to reduce the mosquito population in your area by getting rid of any standing water that has collected around your house or campsite.
Mosquitos breed in standing water. Mosquito breeding sites include artificial water containers such as discarded tires, uncovered water storage barrels, buckets, flower vases or pots, cans, and cisterns.

3.) Use insect repellent when outdoors. It is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites when you will be spending time outdoors in mosquito infested areas. Apply insect repellent to all exposed areas of your skin before heading outside.

Protect infants less than two months of age by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.

4.) Cover your skin. You can reduce your chances of being bitten if you cover up as much of your skin as possible. Wear loose, long-sleeved shirts, socks, and long pants when you will be traveling to mosquito infested areas. You can also spray your clothing with repellent.

What to do if you discover you have dengue Fever.

1.) Know that there is no cure for dengue fever. Although multiple vaccines are being researched, there is no cure for dengue fever. If you survive the illness, you will be immune to the strain with which you were infected; however, you will still be able to contract one of the other three strains.

2.) See a doctor as soon as possible if you suspect that you have dengue fever. Seek medical attention right away to increase your chances of survival. If your symptoms become severe, you may require blood pressure monitoring, blood transfusions, and other interventions that must be administered by medical professionals.

3.) Stay hydrated. Dengue fever can cause diarrhea and vomiting, which can cause dehydration; therefore, it is important to drink plenty of water if you contract dengue fever. Your doctor may administer IV fluids to keep you hydrated as well.

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