With the increasing prevalence of Dengue incidences in the city, it is important for one to understand about Dengue and how they can fight against it by taking all the necessary precautions.

Dengue fever is a viral disease caused by dengue virus and it has four distinct serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4). The disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infective female Aedes aegypti mosquito with an incubation period over 4-10 days (period between becoming infected and the development of symptoms)

Dengue fever is diagnosed based upon the clinical features plus Demonstration of IgM antibody titre by ELISA positive in a single serum sample or by demonstration of dengue viral antigen (NS1) by ELISA.

Dengue: All You Need To Know About The Fever

People Who Are At High Risk For Dengue Fever:

Infants

Pregnant women

Elderly people

People with underlying heart, kidney and lung problems.

People who are taking long term steroids, antiplatelet agents, anticoagulants and other medications that may suppress the immune system

One should suspect Dengue fever in a person who has high fever with any two of the following symptoms.

Severe headache

Pain behind the eyes

Nausea, vomiting

Muscle and joint pains

Rash

Warning Signs Of Dengue Fever:

Severe abdominal pain

Persistent vomiting

Rapid breathing

Bleeding from nose, gums

Blood in vomiting, the passage of black tarry stools

Lethargy, irritability

Red spots, rash in the skin

Pale cold clammy skin

Prevention

Prevention is better than cure goes the saying. There is no vaccine currently available to prevent dengue fever. However, personal protection and keeping our environment clean are the most important things in preventing the breeding of mosquitoes and mosquito bites.

Taking personal protection measures like wearing protective clothing (full sleeved shirts & full pants during day time) and using mosquito nets.

Use mosquito repellents to stay away from mosquitoes.

Covering all water containers in the house to prevent laying of eggs by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Emptying, drying water tanks, containers, tyres, coolers, bird baths, pets water bowls, plant pots, drip trays at least once each week.

Regularly checking for clogged gutters and flat roofs that may have poor drainage.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment available for dengue fever. However, patients should seek medical advice at the earliest, take rest and drink plenty of fluids. Paracetamol can be taken to bring down fever and reduce joint pains. Aspirin, ibuprofen or mefenamic acid or steroids should not be taken since they can increase the risk of bleeding. Patients with warning signs or severe dengue will be hospitalized and be treated with appropriate intravenous fluids and other medications by the treating physician.

  - Dr. R. Ganesh, Senior Consultant - General Pediatrics & Pediatric Metabolic Disorders(Rainbow Hospital Chennai)