Everything You Need to Know About Dengue – Part 1

Dengue fever is one disease that is becoming increasingly common and every year, you hear many cases around you of people getting it. Dengue and Dengue haemorrhagic fever, also known as ‘Breakbone’ fever are both caused by a virus. This disease is commonly contracted by people in the tropics and subtropics. While children are more susceptible to getting the disease, statistics show that about two-fifths of the people all around the world are at risk. The dengue virus belongs to the category of Flavivirus and there are four main forms such as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4. Each of these is very similar to one another but have different antigens.

Transmission of Dengue

The dengue virus is carried by the Aedes aegypti breed of mosquitoes. It transmits the virus, but is not itself affected by it. This pest breeds in clean stagnant water and bites people during the day. Direct contact between people does not spread the virus, but when a carrier mosquito bites a person, he/she develops the disease 5 to 6 days later. During this period, if the mosquito were to bite the infected person, it can pick up the virus and pass it on to a healthy person. If you were to contract any one of the four forms of dengue, you are likely to develop immunity to it. However, you can still get infected by the other three forms.

Symptoms of Dengue

About a week after being bitten by the mosquito, patients can develop high fever and other flu-like symptoms including:

  • Joint, bone, and muscular pain
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes
  • Fatigue and sleepiness
  • Rash with itching that appears all over the body (similar to measles)
  • Severe pain behind the eyes that becomes worse with eye movement
  • Lower back pain
  • Bleeding gums
  • Reddened soles and palms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of sensation of taste
  • Loss of appetite

In rare cases, dengue can degenerate into a Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), a more serious form of the disease that typically affects children aged 10 years and below. This condition can prove to be life threatening for the patient. Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Continuous bleeding or hemorrhaging (usually from the nose, mouth and gums)
  • Collapse of blood circulation or shock
  • Lowered platelet counts or thrombocytopenia when the blood does not clot
  • Leakage of blood plasma
  • Critically low blood pressure
  • Serious dehydration
  • Lowered heart rate at less than 60 beats per minute
  • Enlarged liver and liver damage
  • Damaged immunity
  • Brain seizures or encephalitis and resulting brain damage
  • Pale, cold and sweaty skin
  • Trouble breathing
  • Extreme thirst and dry mouth
  • Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  • Skin rashes
  • Restlessness and sleepiness

Read on ahead for more information on the cures, patient care and preventive measures you can take to protect yourself and your family.

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