Rain brings respite from the scorching summer heat, but it also brings some troubles in the form of diseases like dengue, malaria, chikungunya, viral respiratory illness, diarrhoea among others.
Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus, said Dr Puneet Gupta, pulmonologist who consults on Practo. “With multiple cities including Delhi recording a high number of dengue-related cases every year, it is important that we know about the disease and how to prevent it,” he told indianexpress.com.
Symptoms, which usually begin four to six days after infection and last for up to 10 days, may include
● Sudden, high fever
● Severe headaches
● Pain behind the eyes
● Severe bone, 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 flu or any other viral infection. However, serious problems can develop if not treated on time. “These include dengue hemorrhagic fever, a rare complication characterized by high fever, damage to lymph and blood vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, enlargement of the liver, and failure of the circulatory system. The symptoms may progress to massive bleeding, shock, and death. This is called dengue shock syndrome (DSS),” he explained.
People with weakened immune systems as well as those with a second or subsequent dengue infection are believed to be at greater risk for developing dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Diagnosing dengue infection
Doctors can diagnose dengue infection with a blood test to check for the virus or antibodies to it.
There is no specific medicine to treat dengue infection. If you think you may have dengue fever, you should use only Paracetamol for fever. “Avoid medicines with aspirin, Ibuprofen, Nemuslide, pain killers, etc. (NSAIDS), which could worsen bleeding. You should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and see your doctor. If you start to feel worse after 24 hours or if fever goes up, you should get to a hospital immediately to be checked for complications,” Dr Gupta said.
Preventing dengue fever
There is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever yet. The best way to prevent the disease is to prevent bites by infected mosquitoes.
To protect yourself:
● Stay away from heavily populated residential areas, if possible.
● Use mosquito repellents, mosquito repellents cream, while going out and even indoors.
● When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.
● Use mosquito nets.
● If you have symptoms of dengue, speak to your doctor.
● Avoid collection of water in places where mosquitoes can breed. These include old tires, cans, or flower pots that collect rain. Regularly change the water in cooler, outdoor bird baths and pets’ water dishes.
● If someone in your home gets dengue fever, be especially vigilant about protecting yourself and other family members from mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes that bite the infected family member could spread the infection to others in your home.