Dengue (pronounced as den-gee) is a mosquito borne disease that can be quite debilitating, to say the least. Caused by any of the four dengue viruses, dengue is rather painful and can be fatal, if not detected on time. The same virus is responsible behind yellow fever and the West Nile infection (an infection similar to other mosquito borne conditions).
The risk factors of Dengue are the highest in places like the Indian subcontinent, Southern China, South East Asia, Pacific Islands, Taiwan, Africa, Mexico, Caribbean Islands (apart from the Cayman islands and Cuba), South (apart from Chile, Argentina and Paraguay) and Central America.
The Aedes mosquito bearing the dengue virus is the major cause of this infection. However, dengue cannot spread directly from an individual to another.
The primary warning signs
Usually, the symptoms start showing up within 5-6 days of getting infected and can persist for over a week. These include:
- Severe headache
- High fever, all of a sudden
- Severe muscle and joint pain
- Pain that originates from behind the eyes
- Rashes on the skin that usually show up within 4-5 days of the fever’s onset
- Easy bruising, nose and gum bleeds
Sometimes, the symptoms can be confused with those of the flu/common cold or any other viral infection. The severity of the condition is comparatively less among younger children and especially people who’ve never suffered from it before. If not detected on time, dengue can lead to other serious issues such as hemorrhagic fever (marked by very high fever), damaged blood vessels and lymph nodes, nose and gum bleeds, hepatomegaly (an enlarged liver) and total breakdown of one’s circulatory system. These symptoms can ultimately lead to Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS, characterized by excessive bleeding, shock and finally, death). The risk of hemorrhagic fever is comparatively more among people suffering from an already weak immune system or who have already had the condition before.
Although there’s no specific treatment as such, administering painkillers along with acetaminophen can work. Patients must avoid medicines that contain aspirin because that might make the bleeding worse. Rest your body, drink sufficient fluids and consult a doctor without delaying anymore. It is advisable to get checked for complications that always remain a possibility even after the infection has subsided. Therefore, if you or a loved one is experiencing any dengue symptom, get Doctor’s advise as early possible.
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