Dengue fever or break-bone fever, as it is also called, is a tropical fever that is spread by mosquitoes. The disease is actually caused by four similar viruses. In few cases, dengue fever can complicate into dengue hemorrhagic fever and it can be sometimes life-threatening. It is life threatening because it results in bleeding, low levels of blood platelet count and blood plasma leakage. This leads to dangerous levels of low blood pressure.
Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquitoes. Although, dengue virus cannot spread from one person to another person directly, it is the mosquitoes that transmit the virus. For example, a person suffering from dengue fever, if he is bitten by a mosquito and if the mosquito bites another person, then the virus can spread.
Source: Health Galleries
Dengue Fever In Children And Measures To Avoid It
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
The symptoms of dengue fever include
- high fever, which can be as high as 105°F (40°C)
- pain behind the eyes
- pain in the joints, muscles and/or bones
- severe headache
- rashes all over the body
- mild bleeding from the nose or gums
- can be easily bruised
The symptoms of dengue fever can be visible only after 5 days to 2 weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The symptoms, mentioned above can last between 2 to 7 days after showing up. As dengue is spread by similar viruses, being infected by one type of virus can make a person immune to that particular type, but there is still the risk from other types of dengue viruses. For kids being infected for the first time, the symptoms can be mild. But, those who have been infected in the past, the symptoms can actually be moderate to severe.
Symptoms of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever
Kids suffering from dengue hemorrhagic fever can have the above mentioned symptoms and after the fever lessens, other symptoms can come up and get worse. These can include
- Severe bleeding
- Gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, severe pain the stomach
- Respiratory problems such as difficulty in breathing
- Low blood platelet count
- Fast drop in blood pressure
If not treated in time, these symptoms can be life threatening.
Seek immediate medical attention
If you think that your child is showing dengue like symptoms like fever and headache, do not hesitate to meet your doctor. It is better to be safe. Blood will be examined for dengue virus infection.
- There is no specific treatment for dengue fever.
- Giving lots of fluids to avoid dehydration and taking lot of rest is advised.
- Apart from these, pain relievers such as acetominophen are generally suggested to ease headaches and other pains.
- Other pain killers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, etc should be avoided as they can increase the risk of bleeding.
In most cases, the fever can go away easily, but if your kid experiences worse symptoms after the fever has gone, then it might be a sign that dengue hemorrhagic fever is setting in. If that is the case, then you should seek immediate medical attention. One best thing to do in such a situation is to admit your kid in the nearest hospital, as it can be life threatening and a medical emergency.
For treating dengue hemorrhagic fever, doctors generally give IV fluids and electrolytes lost through vomiting or diarrhea. In some severe cases, blood transfusion is also done to replace lost blood.
As there is no vaccine for dengue fever, the only way to make sure that your kids don’t get infected with dengue fever is by taking certain precautions.
- Use screens for doors and windows to keep mosquitoes away. For doors and windows with no screen, keep them closed most of the time.
- Keep your doors and windows closed during dawn and dusk hours, as it is time when mosquitoes are very active.
- Use mosquito nets during night time.
- Don’t let your kids play around overgrown bushes or plants. These are also very good hiding spots for mosquitoes during day time.
- Dress up your kids in long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes to cover most parts of the body while going outside.
- Start using insect repellent creams for your kids. Use them as directed. You could also keep natural insect repellent plants such as basil, lavender, lemongrass, lemon thyme, mint, rosemary, marigold, etc.
- Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Hence, make sure that there is no stagnant water anywhere inside or outside of your house. Water left in discarded containers, old tires, etc can be ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Even indoor, don’t let water be in places such as pet bowls, flower vases, etc for too long.
With these precautions and preventive measures, you can avoid not just dengue fever, but many other diseases which are transmitted by mosquitoes.