Dengue fever: How serious is it?

Dengue fever

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Dengue fever is a viral infection that is spread by mosquitoes. It is a big health issue in tropical and subtropical parts of the world like Africa, Asia and South America. Statistics show that around 100 million cases occur each year.

What is the cause of dengue fever?

There are 4 kinds of dengue viruses which can cause the infection. These viruses are spread by Aedes mosquitoes which thrive in and near human housings. When a mosquito bites a person who is suffering from dengue infection, the virus enters the mosquito. When this infected mosquito bites another person, the virus gets transferred to that person and leads to infection. Dengue does not spread directly from one person to another.

After the person recovers from the infection, they may have immunity to one type of virus that caused the infection but not to other types of dengue viruses. The risk of developing a severe dengue fever which is known as dengue hemorrhagic fever increases if the infection happens second or the third time.

What are the symptoms of Dengue fever?

Many people may not experience any signs and symptoms during a mild case of dengue fever. When symptoms do occur, they generally appear 4 to 7 days after you are infected by the dengue virus and last for up to 10 days.

Dengue causes sudden high fever – up to 104 F – along with other symptoms like:

  • Body pain
  • Headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

People usually recover within a week or 10 days. In some cases, symptoms can worsen and become life-threatening. As the infection becomes severe, platelet count starts decreasing. This can lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome and may cause symptoms like:

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding from gums or nose
  • Blood in urine, stools or vomit
  • Rapid breathing
  • Cold skin
  • Bleeding under the skin
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

What is the treatment for Dengue fever?

Till date, there is no specific treatment for Dengue fever. Treatment mainly includes management of fever through medication and prevention of dehydration through plenty of oral fluids.

The doctor usually recommends watching for signs and symptoms of dehydration. Call your doctor right away if you develop:

  • Decreased urine output
  • Dry mouth or lips
  • Confusion or lethargy
  • Cold extremities

In Dengue, only paracetamol is used to treat the fever. The doctor avoids other drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen because they may increase the complications.

If dengue infection becomes severe, the patient may need:

  • Medical care at a clinic or hospital
  • Intravenous fluids
  • Platelet Transfusion

Here in RxDx Multispeciality clinic, we have experienced Physicians/Family Doctors who can diagnose and treat Dengue fever efficiently. We also have day care facility to help the doctor monitor you in case your fever is not subsiding or you have developed co-morbidities which may require treatment by multiple specialists. If needed, we coordinate the admission into best nearby hospital for inpatient care. At RxDx Bengaluru, our family doctors remain the guardian of the whole person, making sure that treatment advised by different doctors is well coordinated.

For further details, please contact: 080-49261111, 6745-8111

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