Dengue fever is a tropical disease brought on by an infection carried by mosquitoes. The infection can cause fever, headaches, rashes, and pain throughout the body. A lot of cases of dengue fever are mild and disappear by themselves after about a week.
Dengue fever rarely strikes in the United States (the last cases were reported in Texas in 2005), but if you prepare to travel to a foreign country– particularly one in the tropics– it’s smart to defend against dengue fever. Using insect repellant, covering sleep areas with netting, and preventing the outdoors at sunset and dawn (when mosquitoes are most active) can help lower the chances of infection.
Dengue hardly ever shows up in the United States however is a leading cause of health problem and death in the tropics and subtropics. It sometimes infects people in Hawaii and is common in Puerto Rico and in numerous popular traveler destinations in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific islands.
About Dengue Fever
Dengue (DEN-gee) fever is triggered by 4 similar infections spread by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, which are common in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide.
When an Aedes mosquito bites an individual who has actually been infected with a dengue virus, the mosquito can become a carrier of the infection. If this mosquito bites somebody else, that individual can be infected with dengue fever. The infection cannot spread straight from person to person.
Many kids with dengue fever do not have symptoms; others have moderate symptoms that appear anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms typically last for 2 to 7 days. When kids have had the health problem, they become immune to that specific type of the infection (although they can still be infected by any of the other three types).
In unusual cases, dengue fever can result in a more severe kind of the disease called dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). DHF can be harmful and needs to be treated right away.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
In the past, dengue fever was referred to as “breakbone fever,” which may give you an idea of the symptoms it can cause– that is, if a person ends up having any symptoms at all. The fever isn’t really actually breaking any bones, but it can often seem like it is.
Typical signs and symptoms of dengue fever consist of:
- high fever, potentially as high as 105 ° F( 40 ° C)
- pain behind the eyes and in the joints, muscles and/or bones
- severe headache
- rash over the majority of the body
- mild bleeding from the nose or gums
- bruising easily
Symptoms are usually mild in more youthful children and those who are infected with the disease for the first time. Older kids, grownups, and those who have had a previous infection might have moderate to severe symptoms.
Individuals with DHF will have the regular symptoms of dengue fever for 2 to 7 days. After the fever alleviates, other symptoms get worse and can cause more severe bleeding; gastrointestinal issues like queasiness, vomiting, or severe abdominal (belly) pain; and breathing problems like trouble breathing. Dehydration, heavy bleeding, and a rapid drop in blood pressure (shock) can follow if DHF goes without treatment. These symptoms are life threatening and require immediate treatment.
If you believe your child’s symptoms may be brought on by dengue fever, call a doctor immediately. You should also call a doctor if your child has recently been to a region that has dengue fever and establishes a fever or severe headache.
To make a diagnosis, the doctor will analyze your child and assess the symptoms. The doctor will ask about your child’s case history and recent travels, and send out a sample of your child’s blood to be tested for the disease.
Treatment for Dengue Fever
No specific treatment is offered for dengue fever. Moderate cases can be dealt with by offering great deals of fluids to avoid dehydration and getting plenty of rest. Pain relievers with acetaminophen can reduce the headaches and pain related to dengue fever. Painkiller with aspirin or ibuprofen must be prevented, as they can make bleeding most likely.
The majority of cases of dengue fever disappear within a week or 2 and won’t cause any enduring issues. If somebody has severe symptoms of the disease, or if symptoms get worse in the first day or more after the fever disappears, seek immediate treatment. This might be a sign of DHF, which is a medical emergency.
To treat severe cases of dengue fever at a healthcare facility, physicians will provide intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes (salts) to change the fluids lost through vomiting or diarrhea. This is usually sufficient to effectively treat the disease, as long as fluid replacement therapy begins early. In advanced cases, medical professionals may need to perform a transfusion to change lost blood.
In all cases of dengue infection, regardless of how major symptoms are, efforts should be made to keep the infected person from being bitten by mosquitoes. This will assist prevent the illness from infecting others.
There is no vaccine to avoid dengue fever, so if children live in or will be going to areas where dengue fever is likely, the only method to protect them from the disease is to minimize their possibilities of being bitten by an infected Aedes mosquito.
In such cases, take these precautions:
- Use screens on windows and doors, and without delay fix broken or broken screens. Keep unscreened windows and doors shut.
- Have kids wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, and socks when they go outside, and use mosquito netting over their beds at night.
- Use insect repellant as directed on your child. Choose a repellant with DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Limit the quantity of time kids invest outside during the day, particularly in the hours around dawn and sunset, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Don’t provide mosquitoes locations to breed. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, so eliminate standing water in things like containers and disposed of tires, and be sure to alter the water in birdbaths, dog bowls, and flower vases at least as soon as a week.
By taking these safety measures and keeping your kids away from areas that have a dengue fever epidemic, the risk of contracting dengue fever is small for global travelers.