What is Dengue fever (DF)?
Dengue infection is caused by a virus. It occurs commonly as dengue fever.
Occasionally the patient suffering from dengue may develop bleeding. Common
sites for bleeding are nose, gums or skin. Sometimes, the patient may
have coffee ground vomiting or black stools. This indicates bleeding in
gastro intestinal tracts and it is serious. The patient with dengue who
has bleeding has dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). Rarely the patient suffering
from dengue may develop shock, then it is called dengue shock syndrome
How does the symptoms of Dengue?
Dengue should be suspected when you have sudden onset of fever. The fever
is high 103-105 degrees F or 39-40 degrees C. It is accompanied with severe
headache, pain behind the eyes, body aches and pains, rash on the skin
and nausea or vomiting. The fever lasts for 5-7 days. In some patients,
fever comes down on 3rd or 4th day but comes back. All the above symptoms
and signs may not be present in the patient.
Can the diagnosis of dengue be confirmed?
There are laboratory tests (Platelet count, Dengue NS1 antigen, IgG &
IgM anti Dengue) that provide direct or indirect evidence for the occurrence
of dengue infection. The tests for confirmation of Dengue should be done
in reliable laboratories referred by doctor
How can someone get dengue fever?
Dengue fever occurs following the bite of an infected mosquito Aedes
aegypti. This type of mosquito has a peculiar white spotted body
and legs and is easy to recognize even by laymen. The mosquito gets the
Dengue virus after biting a human being infected with dengue virus.
Dengue does not spread directly from person to person. It is only spread
through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Can dengue fever be treated at home?
Most patients with dengue fever can be treated at home. They should take
rest, drink plenty of fluids that are available at home and eat nutritious
diet. Sufficient fluid intake is very important and becomes more important
in case DF progresses into DHF or DSS where loss of body fluid / blood
is the most salient feature.
What is the treatment? Is it curable?
Like most viral diseases there is no specific cure for dengue fever. Antibiotics
do not help. Paracetamol is the drug of choice to bring down fever and
Can people die from dengue fever?
People who suffer from dengue fever have no risk of death but some of
them develop Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever or Dengue Shock Syndrome. In some
of these cases death can occur. With proper treatment, the patients with
Dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome can recover fully.
Good treatment provided in time can save most lives.
The most dangerous type of dengue is the dengue shock syndrome. It is
recognized by signs like excessive thirst, pale and cold skin (due to
very low blood pressure), restlessness and a feeling of weakness. It is
important to look for danger signs and contact the doctor as soon as any
one or more of these are found.
Is there a vaccine to prevent dengue fever?
A vaccine has been developed to prevent dengue fever but it is still under
trial. It is not yet available in the market.
How can I prevent dengue?
Dengue mosquitoes bite during the day time throughout the day. Highest
biting intensity is about 2 hours after sunrise and before sunset. Therefore,
people must protect themselves from all mosquito bites.
1. Wear full sleeves clothes and long dresses to cover as much of your
body as possible.
2. Use repellents and electric vapour mats during the daytime,
be careful in using them in young children and old
3. Use mosquito nets to who may rest during the day.