Now that you know what a serious illness dengue can prove to be, your first instinct is probably to look for the ways in which you can prevent it from happening to you or your loved ones. Here’s what you need to do:
Preventive Measures Against Dengue
There are no vaccines against this disease and that makes it very essential to eradicate the mosquitoes that carry it. You must also eliminate all their breeding grounds around your home and workplace. The female mosquito feeds on human blood because it is a good source of the protein it needs to make eggs. This is why; you need to protect yourself from its bites. You can take several precautions such as:
- Check all the containers around the house such as buckets, barrels, coolers, flowerpots, water tanks and so on. If you absolutely must store water, place a lid on the container so mosquitoes cannot reach it.
- Whatever water is not to be used for drinking can be protected by sprinkling a little bleaching powder in it. This will deter mosquito eggs from developing.
- Use mosquito repellant cream on the exposed parts of your skin, even when you will be staying indoors.
- Keep your home screened against mosquitoes. Have vapourisers working constantly or spray mosquito aerosol so they don’t enter your home or workplace.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants along with socks and shoes when going out. Choose light and bright colours since these mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours.
- Never wear strong perfumes and deodorants. These scents mingle with your body odour and act as a magnet for mosquitoes.
- Cover your kids completely when they go out to school or to play.
- Try to avoid going out as far as possible during the dawn, dusk or early evening times.
When to Go for a Test
The symptoms in the initial stages of dengue fever are similar to flu, measles, typhoid, and other ailments. Thus, it is often easy to mistake them until the patient’s condition deteriorates. This is why; it is advisable to have the patient tested within a week of developing fever or any other symptoms. The very first symptoms to check for are high fever, severe headache and rashes. Together, they are called the “Dengue Triad.” Typically, the blood or serum sample of the patient is tested to check for antibodies and virus. Other tests include:
- Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (Titres of IgM and IgG antibodies increase four-fold in serum sample)
- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for identifying viral genome sequence or Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) samples
To find out if the patient has dengue hemorrhagic fever, these tests are conducted:
- Testing the blood to check for the platelet count. (The dengue virus causes a condition called Thrombocytopenia where the platelet counts drop to levels of 100,000 cells or less.)
- Tourniquet Test (A tourniquet is tied on the arm of the patient. If the patient has increased bleeding, red blotches appear on the area of the arm below the tourniquet.)
- Testing the blood to check for higher volume percentages of the red blood cells by 20%. (This indicates plasma leakage and an accumulation of fluid in the chest and abdomen.)
This information should give you a good idea of the precautions you can take to prevent dengue. You also have a clear view of the possible symptoms and how to catch them before the patient’s health worsens. Read ahead to learn how to care for a dengue patient.