Dengue fever: Symptoms and Treatments

What is dengue fever

According to WHO, dengue fever is a mosquito-borne virus which can cause severe flu-like symptoms and even death. Dengue is a pandemic-prone virus disease that is rapidly spreading across the globe. It thrives in the suburbs, cities, and countryside. However, it also affects wealthy areas in tropical and subtropical regions.

Globally, dengue incidence has increased by 30-fold in the past 50 years. This puts almost half the world's population at risk of dengue exposure.

Although there is no specific cure for dengue / severe dengue, early detection and accessing proper medical care can reduce fatality rates to below 1%.

What are the symptoms of dengue fever

Patients with dengue may only experience mild symptoms, which can be confused for other illnesses such as a rash, fever, or aches and pains.

The most common sign of dengue is fever. It can be accompanied by any of these:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rash
  • Aches and Pains (eye pain, usually behind the eyes, muscle, joint or bone pain)
  • Any warning sign of below symptoms of severe dengue

Dengue symptoms typically last between 2-7 days. Most people recover within a week

Severe dengue

  1. About 1/20 people who contract dengue will develop severe symptoms.
  2. A severe case of dengue can cause shock, internal bleeding, or even death.
  3. You are more at risk of severe dengue if you have ever had dengue before.
  4. Pregnant women and infants are more at risk of severe dengue.

Severe dengue symptoms

Be aware of signs and symptoms that could indicate severe dengue. Usually warning signs appear within 24 to 48 hours after fever disappears.
It is immediate to go to a local clinic or emergency room if you or your relatives has any of the below symptoms:

  1. Tenderness, belly pain
  2. Vomiting (at minimum 3 times per 24 hours).
  3. Bleeding from the nose or gums
  4. Vomiting blood or blood in the stool
  5. Feeling tired, restless or irritable

Treatment for Dengue fever

No specific treatment for dengue fever exists, and most people do recover—but supportive care is essential, so drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration from vomiting and high fever. Also take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or paracetamol to alleviate pain and reduce fever. Don't take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as these can increase the risk of bleeding complications.

If you do develop a severe form of the disease, you will need hospital care. Hospital treatment will involve supportive care as an in-patient with analgesics, intravenous (IV) fluid and electrolyte replacement, blood pressure monitoring and sometimes transfusion to replace blood loss (very rare).

Prevention for Dengue fever

The best way to avoid dengue fever is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in general. Vaccine Dengvaxia has been approved for use in some countries. For the U.S in specific, the vaccine is only applicable for children from 9 - 16 years old who had dengue fever before vaccination. At the moment, there is no vaccine available in Vietnam to prevent dengue.

  • Schedule outdoor activities for times when this kind of mosquito is less prevalent. Avoid being outdoors at dawn, dusk and early evening, when more mosquitoes are about.
  • Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing.
  • Check for sources of stagnant water near your house and garden—these are places where the mosquito that transmits dengue/zika/chikungunya fever breed and where the larvae live.
  • Use repellent with a 10–30% concentration of DEET on your skin. Choose the concentration based on the hours of protection you need—a 10% concentration of DEET is effective for about two hours; higher concentrations last longer.
  • Chemical repellents can be toxic, so use only the amount needed. Don't use DEET on the hands of young children or on infants under 2 months of age. Instead, cover your infant's stroller or playpen with mosquito netting when outside.

What to do when you think you caught dengue fever?

If you have any signs or symptoms of dengue fever as mentioned above, please visit a Family Medical Practice medical centre. We have the expertise to diagnose and manage this disease. We can perform specific blood tests to diagnose dengue fever and rule out other diseases that present in a similar fashion—such as malaria, influenza, leptospirosis and typhoid fever.

Please help to contact our front desk team through below channels to schedule appointment:

☎️ 024 3843 0748 - 112, 117 (24/7)


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