Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection. The infection causes flu-like illness, and occasionally develops into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
Symptoms, which usually begin four to six days after infection and last for up to 10 days, may include
-Sudden, high fever
-Pain behind the eyes
-Severe joint and muscle pain
-Skin rash, which appears two to five days after the onset of fever
-Mild bleeding (such a nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)
Sometimes, symptoms are mild and can be mistaken for those of the flu or another viral infection.
Diagnosing Dengue Fever
Doctors can diagnose dengue infection with a blood test to check for the virus or antibodies to it. If you become sick after travelling to a tropical area, let your doctor know. This will allow your doctor to evaluate the possibility that your symptoms were caused by a dengue infection.
Treatment for Dengue Fever
There is no specific medicine to treat dengue infection. If you think you may have dengue fever, you should use pain relievers and avoid medicines with aspirin, which could worsen bleeding. You should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and see your doctor. If you start to feel worse in the first 24 hours after your fever goes down, you should get to a hospital immediately to be checked for complications.
Preventing Dengue Fever
There is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever. The best way to prevent the disease is to prevent bites by infected mosquitoes, particularly if you are living in or travelling to a tropical area. This involves protecting yourself and making efforts to keep the mosquito population down.
To protect yourself:
1. Stay away from heavily populated residential areas, if possible.
2. Use mosquito repellents, even indoors.
3. When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.
4. When indoors, use air conditioning if available.
5. Make sure window and door screens are secure and free of holes. If sleeping areas are not screened or air conditioned, use mosquito nets.
6. If you have symptoms of dengue, speak to your doctor.
7. To reduce the mosquito population, get rid of places where mosquitoes can breed. These include old tires, cans, or flower pots that collect rain. Regularly change the water in outdoor bird baths and pets' water dishes.
8. If someone in your home gets dengue fever, be especially vigilant about efforts to protect yourself and other family members from mosquitoes. Mosquitoes that bite the infected family member could spread the infection to others in your home.