As common as it is these days, dengue fever is a fatal disease if not diagnosed at the right time and treated for cure.
Dengue virus has been present in the world since long and was not identified for cure until the start of 20th century. The first epidemics occurred simultaneously in Asia, North America and Africa in the late 1700s. It was then termed as ‘breakbone fever’ as at that time, it was only found to be fatal like Meningitis and other viral fever types.
Highly advanced medical studies and anti dengue treatment identifications have made it possible now to cure dengue virus and fever, provided that it is diagnosed in time, taken very seriously as a health threat and treated immediately. There are quite a few medications prescribed by different medical practitioners for its cure based on its severity and the time of diagnosis.
How Dengue Spreads
Dengue virus has taken its name from a Spanish terminology ‘dinga’ meaning bone fever spreading from water via insects. It is common knowledge that dengue virus is spread by a specific breed of mosquitoes and can be spread through 4 different dengue viruses (DENV). Some of the risks and possible factors of the virus spreading that can be taken care of in short or longer run are indicated as:
Unplanned and inadequate population distribution and housing in rural or urban areas where public health systems are not setup in a right way like waste management, water irrigation, storage and distribution in a clean environment, and sewerage systems.
Poor management of barren areas where water can remain stagnant and promotes mosquito population.
Climate change, other viral fever evolution that can increase the chance of spreading dengue virus too.
Traveling to places where the epidemic has broken already and exposing skin parts to risks defined above in such areas.
Contaminated areas of living where there is frequent contact with of healthy people with dengue patients where patients are not confined to covered areas.
The major factor involved in amplifying the risks of dengue spread has been the rapid urbanization of areas.
Symptoms and Signs of Dengue Fever
Dengue fever is a viral infection and usually such infections take their time to be cured. Constant dengue treatment, timely diagnosis, consistent anti symptoms medication, following health tips and diet control can easily cure the fatal disease.
To recognize symptoms earlier, and diagnose the viral fever on time, following facts should be kept in mind for the patient:
Normal to severe abdominal pain
Loss of appetite
Pain in eyeballs
Serious to severe symptoms include:
Red skin rashes
Rapid/increased breathing rate
Water retention/fluid retention in body
Vomiting with blood traces
Nose bleed/gums bleed
Platelet count rapidly decreases resulting in internal bleeding
Sudden decrease in temperature below a 100 degrees F or sudden rise to 104 degrees F and above
Liver size enlargement
The above symptoms start to develop after 3-4 days of one getting infected. However, sometimes the symptoms reside in a week’s time but the body of the infected still feels sick and lethargic. If a person has travelled to a place where dengue virus prevails, or has been exposed to marsh areas and develop flu while being there or during travelling back from such areas, immediate report to a doctor can identify early symptoms and diagnosis of dengue virus.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Dengue fever should be reported immediately to a GP or a medical consultant as soon as the dengue symptoms start to develop. Initial blood work and complete blood picture tests can identify the presence of the virus in one’s system.
As this is a viral infection, it usually takes its course meanwhile; the symptoms are treated for cure. Apparently no anti dengue direct cure/vaccine or a specific set of medication for dengue has ever been given or identified, it being viral. However, consultation with a doctor is necessary. In the meantime, one can usually take help from the following to relieve the symptoms:
Taking paracetamol to cure pain or fever and avoiding ibuprofen or aspirin formulae as these two can cause bleeding in case of dengue.
Drinking fluids and plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Abundant amount of rest can help.
Anti Dengue Precautions
Major factors and precautions to consider after dengue has been diagnosed in a patient can eradicate the virus and prevent its spread to others in the same area. Some of the measures important enough to be taken are:
Prevent access of mosquitoes to the infected person.
Spray kerosene oil over stagnant water pools and puddles.
Cover areas with water enclosures like wells and ponds etc.
Clear out wastage/ garbage and possible places where mosquitoes can breed.
Complete bed rest for 4-7 days after the fever resides so that any stress/burden over the body, or activity does not make a person lethargic and weak.
Wear loose but protective clothes and cover the skin properly.
Use repellents for insects and sleep under mosquito nets.
Be aware of your environment so that you know the frequency of mosquito appearance.
Read health articles and create awareness for others.
Dengue fever takes around 3-7 infection days normally to exit a system. However, in severe cases, 14-17 days have been reported as well. A mosquito can infect another person if it bites a dengue infected being during the course of its time. However, the dengue mosquito will require at least 8-12 days before infecting another person.
Diet Plan during Infection
Usually in the case of other infectious fevers, fluids and light diet are preferred. For dengue infection, a person should follow a strict control on diet, keep themselves hydrated, and have the following:
Bottled or sealed water intake
No spice diet
Green leafy vegetables intake
Papaya leaf extract (causes platelet count to increase and dull the chance of bleeding, but has never been a medical prescription to cure dengue directly)
Eating easily digestible food items
Avoid fried and oily foods
Taking porridge, fruits and soups
Why is it Important to Treat Dengue
Dengue, if not treated in time or not treated at all can be potentially life threatening. Adults can cope up with initial dengue fever symptoms but severe cases without any medication in both adults and children have resulted in deaths. One can suffer from dengue again, but not the same virus that caused it as the body becomes immune to the previously treated/suffered viral infection.