dengue fever: causes, symptoms and effective treatment

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dengue fever

This is a topic that needs no introduction, with Dengue Fever being one of the most common fevers/diseases to plague the people of India. You’re also probably familiar with Dengue’s slightly more famous cousin – Malaria that has even been highlighted in various national care advertisements and is a known terror among the mothers when their children go out to play in the rain. But coming to Dengue, let’s first get to the root of the problem and what causes it. Dengue is caused by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and is caused by one of the four dengue viruses. The good news is that once you’re infected with the dengue virus, you develop resistance against it and are immune to it for the rest of your life. The bad news is that you can still be infected by the other three viruses. It’s also possible to get infected by all 4 viruses in your lifetime.

Did you know that at least 400 million cases of Dengue pop up across the globe every year? Yes, that’s right and that’s a HUGE number! The virus’s symptoms may start appearing within 3-4 days of it entering your body and stay till about at least 10 days! The symptoms include the common ones such as fever, nausea, vomiting, body ache, fatigue as well as strange occurrences such as redness and rashes and mild bleeding from the mouth and gums. The symptoms range from mild to severe depending upon your immunity and the severity of the infection. There is only one way to diagnose a patient for Dengue – The BLOOD TEST! Yes, there’s no avoiding the needle no matter how obvious the symptoms may be. The doctors check the blood for viral antibodies before determining the treatment.

The good part about Dengue fever is that usually it is pretty self-limited and can be controlled with a little pain medication and a lot of hydration. However, the fever can get a little trickier than how it looks. Doctors caution the patient against home medication because certain medicines known as Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as Ecotrin, Aspirin, etc. add to the risk of haemorrhaging and should hence be avoided.

The more severe versions of Dengue Fever need more attention and sometimes the patient needs to get hospitalized so that he can be up and running. IV drip hydration, blood pressure control, blood transfusions and platelets transfusions might be needed to keep the danger at bay.

When it comes to the lesser severe cases, home care is sufficient.  One crazy hack that we’re going to tell you to help get your platelet levels up and battle dengue is papaya leaf extract. Dengue fever can also lead to certain complications in the severe cases (haemorrhaging & shock syndrome). A few of the complications include – Liver Damage, Low Blood Pressure, Low heart rate and even death if neglected for too long.

Well, as they say prevention is better than cure and in the case of Dengue this statement holds true. While there is no vaccine for dengue yet, so the best way is to avoid mosquito bites and areas heavily populated with mosquitoes.  First step you need to do if you’re in a mosquito friendly area is to run over to the general store and stock up on Odomos or other mosquito repellents. The next thing you do which is probably something you’ve heard a lot growing up but never taken seriously is do not let stagnant water settle around where you’re staying and spray puddles etc. with a thin layer of oil to prevent mosquitoes from nesting in them and reproducing! Next you got to get rid of the bird baths, empty plant pots and any other vessels that can store water in the case of rains. Lastly, please don’t forget to cover your windows with anti-mosquito nets and keep the doors closed especially during dusk. If you can’t stop the mosquitoes from entering your home, use a mosquito net while sleeping so that you can sleep without the fear of getting infected!

In the past, dengue hasn’t been that big a problem but has been on the rise since the past few years. An astounding fact – The fatality rate is about 1% for all dengue fever infections. While this rate may seem low, worldwide it means that about 500,000 to 1 million people die each year from dengue fever. Not so trivial a number now, is it? It’s best to stay smart and avoid problems that CAN be avoided. Stay informed of the peak exposure hours of mosquitoes and avoid the bites by wearing full sleeves when you’re going outdoors. A little precaution could save you a lot of trouble guys! If a loved one is suffering from Dengue, get in touch with a doctor at the earliest. In case you need more information on the condition, download Portea’s mobile app and chat with a doctor for free.

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