Here I am passing on the information that I received today via email. Please spread it around and share it as much as you can as this might prove vital in saving some affected person’s life.
DENGUE – What we need to know:
When should we suspect Dengue fever or what are the symptoms of Dengue fever?
Not all fever is Dengue for eg. If you have a bad cold with soreness of throat it is a viral respiratory infection and not Dengue.
Fever in Dengue could be mild to moderate or very high with chills . We should think of the possibility of Dengue if the fever is accompanied by severe back pain, headache (behind eyes typically) , bone pain and muscle pain. In fact its other name is break bone fever.
When should we be careful ? Do the dreaded complications happen on the first day of fever itself?
In around 3 to 7 days fever improves . But this is the period when most of the complications of Dengue are most likely to occur. It may be missed because there is usually no fever or if at all very mild fever at this stage .
Are there any warning signs at this stage?
As the fever starts to improve , if one develops the following symptoms he needs to see a physician immediately
- Severe abdominal pain or persistent vomiting
- Red spots or patches on the skin
- Bleeding from nose or gums
- Vomiting blood
- Black, tarry stools
- Drowsiness or irritability
- Pale, cold, or clammy skin
- Difficulty breathing
What are the complications ?
When the fever declines,(day 2 to 7) warning signs may develop. This marks the beginning of a 24 to 48 hour period when the smallest blood vessels (capillaries) become excessively permeable, allowing the fluid component to escape from the blood vessels into the peritoneum (causing ascites) and pleural cavity (leading to pleural effusions). This may lead to failure of the circulatory system and shock, and possibly death without prompt, appropriate treatment. In addition, the patient with DHF has a low platelet count and hemorrhagic manifestations, tendency to bruise easily or have other types of skin hemorrhages, bleeding nose or gums, and possibly internal bleeding. The bleeding tendencies can be seen as bleeding from gums on brushing teeth or appearance of red spots or patches on skin or black tarry stools.
What blood tests need to be done?
There is a rapid test that will pick up infection on day 1 itself . It is called NS1 antigen test. There is also the Dengue IgM, which however becomes positive only after 4 to 6 days and is not of much practical value in terms of planning treatment. Platelet count tends to drop on day 3 to 7. At this time if platelet count is less than 1 lakh/cu.mm then it has to rechecked every 8 hours because the fall in platelets could be sudden and severe.
What precautions should be taken?
Water in pools, tanks need to be changed every other day because the mosquitoes that act as vectors for Dengue virus (Aedes egypti ) breeds in stagnant water. Also small container like small cans , coconut shells , buckets in the garden which can hold stagnant water needs to be eliminated.
Aedes Egypti mosquitoes are predominantly day biters . They bite maximally during dawn and dusk. But they also hide in places like curtains, under sofas etc and can bite throughout the day.
Odomos mosquito repellent is fairly safe and gives protection for atleast 6 hours. It has to be liberally applied when one goes for a walk during early morning or late evening hours esp. in areas like parks . Children also need to use this when they go out to play. They should use long , full sleeves tops, full pants , socks, shoes etc. i.e cover themselves as much as possible. Applying some odomos on socks also helps because it prevents mosquito bites through socks. Mosquito nets are preferable at night .
What is the treatment ?
There is no specific treatment. If fall in platelets is critical then a platelet transfusion may have to be given. If a clinical diagnosis is made early, a health care provider can effectively treat dengue hemorrhagic fever using fluid replacement therapy. Adequately management of Dengue Hemorrhagic fever generally requires hospitalization
Papaya Leaf Juice helps fight Dengue: Here’s an interesting article that talks about benefits of Papaya leaf juice in dengue. Check it out here