The onset of monsoon brings with it an increase in the number of mosquito-borne disease diseases like dengue, malaria, zika and chikungunya. Spread by the bite of infected Aedes mosquito, dengue results in high fever, rash, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle pain and joint pain. According to the World Health Organisation, there are 190 million cases of dengue reported worldwide, out of which 96 million cases require treatment. In India, there is 25 per cent increase each year, mainly attributed to ineffective preventive steps to check mosquito breeding.
Patients can also experience nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. A rash usually appears three to four days after the start of the fever. Patients sometimes also develop a transient flushing pink colour on their face with the glands in the neck and groin area swelling up.
“Dengue illness can last up to 10 days, but complete recovery can take as long as a month. There is no specific treatment or vaccines for dengue. It is treated symptomatically. The principal aim is to control the temperature fluctuation, maintain hydration and provide relief from joint pain,” says Dr Ankit Prasad, consultant, paediatrics, Fortis Hospital Noida.
Why are some people more susceptible to dengue?
*They live in a high-risk zone which has dingy, unclean surroundings with stagnant water that encourages mosquito breeding.
*Some of them have been infected with dengue before.
*They have low immunity.
*Their platelet count is low.
The common tests used in dengue diagnosis are:
*Complete blood count
*ELISA test for dengue NS1 Ag
*PCR for detecting viral DNA
*Serum IgG and IgM test
Suggested approach for treatment:
*Seek medical advice immediately if common symptoms persist.
*Drink plenty of fluids.
*Symptomatic relief can be sought using NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as paracetamol.
*Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen since they can increase the risk of bleeding.
*Follow your doctor’s instructions diligently.
If dengue fever progresses to dengue shock syndrome, look out for these symptoms:
*Severe pain in the abdomen
*Fluid accumulation in the liver
*Fluid accumulation in the chest
How to prevent dengue:
*Make sure all egg-laying habitats of mosquitoes, such as open and stagnant water sources, are cleaned up.
*If there are any open water sources around you, make sure to cover them and use appropriate insecticides.
*Use protections such as window screens, long-sleeved clothes, insecticide-treated materials, coils, vaporizers and repellant creams to avoid being bitten by mosquitos.
*A person can suffer from dengue a second time if the viral strain is different from the initial infection. So ensure adequate protection.
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