Take precautions to keep dengue fever at bay
ISLAMABAD, October 16, 2010: Every precaution should be taken to prevent dengue fever and the severe complications that it can cause -- dengue haemorrhagic fever.
This reminder comes in the wake of an increase in suspected and actual cases of dengue fever.
Dengue fever is a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults. The virus is transmitted to humans through the Aedes Aegypti female mosquito, that is the carrier. It bites during the day, with peak activity two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset.
These mosquitoes generally acquire the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person. After virus incubation for eight to 10 days, an infected mosquito is capable, during probing and blood feeding, of transmitting the virus to susceptible individuals for the rest of its life.
Some of the symptoms of dengue fever are sudden high temperatures; severe headache; pain behind the eyes, which worsens with eye movement, muscle and joint pain; loss of appetite, measles-like rash on the chest and upper limbs; and nausea and vomiting.
Since the disease can rapidly become very serious and lead to a medical emergency, it is important for families to monitor children or relatives with the symptoms, for a few days.
Complications associated with dengue fever usually appear between the third and fifth day of illness, so patients should be monitored for up to two days after the fever disappears.
In order to lower the fever, patients should be bathed in tepid water and ice (in a pack or bag) or cold water should then be placed on the head or abdomen.
They should be given Panadol exactly in the manner directed by their physician and absolutely no aspirin should be administered. Additionally, large amounts of fluids (water, soups, milk, juices and sodas) along with the patients’ normal diet should be given and plenty of bed rest is recommended.
A physician should be contacted immediately if the following symptoms occur: red spots or points on the skin; bleeding from the nose or gums; frequent vomiting; black stools; pale, cold or clammy skin; and difficulty breathing, as these may be an indication of dengue haemorrhagic fever.
Dengue haemorrhagic fever presents symptoms similar to dengue fever. They include: severe continuous stomach pain, profuse sweating, bleeding from nose, mouth and gums, skin bruising, frequent vomiting with or without food, extreme exhaustion, constant crying, excessive thirst, rapid weak pulse, difficulty breathing and fainting.
Early diagnosis and prompt medical attention are required for persons suspected of having either dengue fever or dengue haemorrhagic fever.