In developing countries with a tropical climate, the death toll due to seasonal outbreaks of infectious diseases is on the rise. The hospital wards are full of patients diagnosed with various tropical infections and dengue surpasses them all. Its prevalence is much higher than the data provided by healthcare departments as many of the cases go unreported due to a lack of public awareness. Some of the common questions and answers about Dengue Fever are explained here.
What Is Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever is an infection caused by a virus from the arbovirus group, and this virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of the infected Aedes mosquito (also called the tiger mosquito) which grows in a freshwater habitat close to human dwellings. So, it is not surprising that 'dengue fear' surpasses all the other panic syndromes. Within a few days, the person starts experiencing severe headache, backache, and body ache. There may also be joint pains along with ahigh-grade fever and a typical rash. Dengue is a dehydrating fever with no known cure yet.
Is Dengue a Serious Disease?
A vast majority of the public still do not realize the importance of hospitalization during the illness. While dengue by itself is not a dangerous disease, the improper management of the symptoms can be fatal. Supportive medications such as intravenous saline and antipyretics are used along with symptomatic care. Dengue fever may cause severe dehydration, dizziness and giddiness and even syncopal falls leading to injuries.
What to Expect?
Dengue is a typical biphasic illness with distinct acute and chronic phases. In the acute phase, the fever lasts for a couple of days and subsides. But, the real panic starts after that. On the fourth day of the illness, the platelet count begins to drop, with a progressive fall till the seventh day rising again spontaneously after that.
The diagnosis of dengue is again such a situation where patients are in a constant dilemma. Within the first three to four days, the dengue NS1 antigen test results come positive, and from the sixth day onwards, the antibodies start developing. This can lead to many patients with symptoms consistent of dengue be labeled falsely as negative. As per my clinical experience, there is no requirement of platelet transfusion in this illness as it causes more harm than good. One may consider a platelet transfusion when the count drops below 20,000/cu mm along with clinical manifestations such as nasal bleed, blood in stools or urine. 95 % of the patients recover on their own without any additional supplements such as steroids injection given by some physicians.
Home Remedies for Dengue: Fact or Fad?
There are many myths doing the rounds regarding papaya leaf extracts, kiwi fruit and goat milk improving the platelet count in dengue. But, they have not been medically proven and are not recommended forms of treatment. In fact, a reduced platelet count may not be the real danger sign in simple dengue fever. We must look for reduced urine production, giddiness, severe headache with persistent vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and breathlessness which are more ominous signs.
Dengue Shock Syndrome:
Unaware of having dengue, many pop fever medicines for prolonged periods and land up in a shock-like state which may injure their internal organs such as kidneys. With proper IV fluid resuscitation, they do show good recovery.
Is Hospitalization Necessary?
Not every patient needs to be hospitalized after being diagnosed with dengue fever. The mild cases can be effectively managed at home if the patient ensures rehydration with different means - ORS (oral rehydration salts), juice, plenty of water, as well as adequate rest and fever medicines.
But, I must draw your attention to those severe cases who despite good treatment show signs of complications and even succumb to their illness due to multiorgan failure even after being treated at the best intensive care setup. One may not identify those unlucky individuals. Hence prevention stands up to be the best protective measure.
Does It Provide Future Protection?
Immunity against dengue is another such wonderful phenomenon. Contrary to our belief, a previous episode of dengue will not impart good protective immunity and the second episode of dengue may turn more dangerous due to some immune complex mechanisms.
So one must understand that dengue still remains a dramatic illness with variable clinical presentations and unexpected results. So, stop panicking and act smartly to avoid untoward consequences.
For more information consult a dengue fever specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/internal-medicine-physician/dengue-feverLast reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018