Dengue fever is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It is a mosquito-borne disease that is most common in tropical and subtropical regions. Dengue fever can cause a range of symptoms, including high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, and rash. In severe cases, dengue fever can lead to life-threatening complications, such as bleeding and shock.
Symptoms of dengue fever
The symptoms of dengue fever typically appear 4-10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms include:
- High fever (up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Severe dengue fever
Severe dengue fever, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS), is a life-threatening complication of dengue fever. DHF and DSS can cause bleeding, shock, and organ failure.
Who is at risk for dengue fever?
Anyone can get dengue fever, but people who live in or travel to tropical and subtropical regions are at increased risk. People who have already had dengue fever are also at increased risk for developing severe dengue fever if they are bitten by an infected mosquito again.
How to prevent dengue fever
There is no vaccine available for dengue fever, so prevention is key. The best way to prevent dengue fever is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Here are some tips:
- Use insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin on your skin when you are outdoors, especially during the early morning and late afternoon hours when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear long sleeves and pants when you are outdoors.
- Use mosquito nets over your bed when you sleep.
- Eliminate breeding sites for mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from containers, such as bird baths, flower pots, and tires.
How to protect yourself from dengue fever
If you have been bitten by a mosquito, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from dengue fever:
- Monitor your temperature for 10 days after being bitten.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
- Get plenty of rest.
- If you develop any symptoms of dengue fever, such as high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, or rash, see a doctor right away.
What to do if you have dengue fever
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Treatment is focused on relieving symptoms and preventing complications. If you have dengue fever, you will need to be hospitalised for monitoring and treatment.
Treatment for dengue fever may include:
- Intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration
- Medications to reduce fever and pain
- Blood transfusions in severe cases
Most people with dengue fever recover within 1-2 weeks. However, some people may develop severe dengue fever, which can be fatal. If you develop severe dengue fever, you will need to be treated in a hospital intensive care unit.
Preventing dengue fever in the community
In addition to individual prevention measures, communities can also take steps to prevent the spread of dengue fever. These measures include:
- Mosquito control programs to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the community
- Public education campaigns to raise awareness about dengue fever and prevention measures
Dengue fever is a serious mosquito-borne illness that can cause life-threatening complications. However, there are a number of things you can do to prevent dengue fever and protect yourself and your family. By following the tips above, you can help to reduce your risk of getting dengue fever.