Dengue fever is a viral illness caused by the dengue virus and transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. The disease is prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions, with an estimated 400 million people infected annually worldwide. Dengue fever can range from a mild fever to a severe and life-threatening illness. Early recognition and appropriate management of the disease are crucial to prevent severe dengue, also known as hemorrhagic fever.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
The symptoms of dengue fever typically appear within 3-14 days after the infected mosquito bite. The most common symptoms include high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and rash. Some patients may experience mild bleeding, such as nosebleeds or easy bruising. In severe cases, dengue fever can lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever, a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by severe bleeding, organ failure, and fluid accumulation in the lungs and abdomen.
Doctors typically rely on the patient’s symptoms and medical history to diagnose dengue fever. Blood tests can also be used to confirm the diagnosis, such as the dengue virus NS1 antigen test, which detects the presence of the dengue virus in the blood within the first few days of infection. Online blood tests are available at home for your convenience, and you can get the reports directly.
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. The primary goal is to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications. This may include rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain relievers for mild cases. More severe cases may require hospitalization for close monitoring and management of complications, such as fluid replacement therapy and blood transfusions.
The Aedes mosquito breeds in stagnant water, such as in old tires, containers, and flower pots, and is most active during the day. People living in or traveling to areas where the Aedes mosquito is prevalent are at risk of contracting dengue fever.
Poor sanitation and lack of access to clean water can also increase the risk of dengue fever. In areas with poor waste management and overflowing sewage, stagnant water can accumulate and provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Furthermore, lack of adequate housing can also increase exposure to mosquitoes, as open windows and doors can allow mosquitoes to enter the house.
Individuals with a weakened immune system are also at a higher risk of contracting dengue fever. This includes people living with HIV/AIDS, those who have recently undergone chemotherapy, and those who have had organ transplants.
How Can This Be Prevented?
Preventing dengue fever requires controlling the mosquito population and avoiding mosquito bites. The Aedes mosquito, which transmits the dengue virus, typically breeds in stagnant water. To reduce the mosquito population, it is essential to eliminate standing water around the home and community, such as in flower pots, old tires, and other containers.
Personal protective measures can also help to prevent mosquito bites. This includes using mosquito repellents, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and using screens or nets to protect against mosquitoes.
Vaccination is also commonly used in preventing dengue fever. Currently, two dengue vaccines have been authorized for use in some countries, Dengvaxia and CYD-TDV. However, it is essential to note that these vaccines are not suitable for everyone, and the decision to use the vaccine should be made after discussing it with a healthcare professional.
In addition to these measures, it is also essential for individuals living in or traveling to dengue-endemic areas to be aware of the symptoms of dengue fever and seek medical attention if they develop any of the symptoms.
Complications of Dengue Fever
Dengue fever can cause a wide range of complications, including:
- Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) – is characterized by high fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, and bleeding. This can be fatal if not treated promptly.
- Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) – A severe form of DHF that causes shock and organ failure.
- Plasma Leakage – fluid can leak from blood vessels, leading to dehydration and shock.
- Organ Failure – Damage to the liver, heart, or kidneys can occur.
- Neurological Complications including encephalitis, meningitis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
- Myocarditis is heart muscle inflammation, which can lead to heart failure.
It is essential to seek medical attention and immediately contact a diagnostic center for blood test sample collection from home if you suspect you have dengue fever.
As we all know, ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ people must follow everything to prevent dengue. Remember, early detection is essential. Taking advice from health experts and getting tested by the best diagnostic center could help you prevent the disease.