Defeat Dengue Fever with Proper Diagnosis
Dengue is a common viral disease caused by a flavivirus. It usually results in the abrupt onset of high fever, headache, myalgias, arthralgias, and generalised lymphadenopathy, followed by a rash that appears with a 2nd temperature rise after an afebrile period. You may have respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, sore throat, and rhinorrhea.
The condition at times may turn severe, causing potentially fatal hemorrhagic fever with a bleeding tendency and shock. Usually, it is an epidemic in the tropical regions of the world. The causative agent, a flavivirus with 4 serogroups, is transmitted by the bite of Aedes mosquitoes. The virus circulates in the blood of infected humans for 2 to 7 days. Typically, these mosquitoes acquire the infection when they feed on humans during this period.
Symptoms and Signs:
Symptoms usually develop from 3-14 days after being exposed to the dengue virus. The average incubation period is around 4-7 days.
The most common symptom you have is an abrupt high temperature which can often reach as high as 410 C.
Other symptoms include:
- An abrupt temperature
- A headache
- Pain behind the eyes
- Bone, muscle, and joint pain
- Flu-like symptoms
- Flat and red skin rash
- Facial flushing
- Loss of appetite
- A sore throat
- Abnormal bleeding
The symptoms may disappear after a couple of weeks, but it can take several more weeks to make a full recovery. The condition makes you feel exhausted when recuperating from this type of infection.
How is dengue diagnosed?
Dengue is often not diagnosed at all. Many people do not know even that they have had the infection especially when the symptoms are mild or non-existent.
Symptomatic dengue can mimic many other illnesses. Usually, those who travel in an area where dengue is common are at the risk of being infected. If you have been in the middle of a dengue outbreak, the chances are high that you may have the symptoms. Do not forget to mention this to your doctor.
Since dengue mimics many other conditions, the only way to get the condition diagnosed is through a blood test.
Severe dengue often resembles several other conditions; although there are fewer possibilities that you will be tested for all of them.
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned, do see a doctor. A blood test is the only way to diagnose the condition. Doctors can also look for antibodies in the blood suggesting recent or previous dengue. Blood tests are also useful to check on how severe the infection is.
What are the Complications of Dengue?
There are usually no complications. The most common symptom is flu. The good sign of recovery is the return of the patient’s appetite. However, tiredness and depression can last for some weeks after recovery.
Severe dengue can be life-threatening. Many people die of this condition, especially those who are not treated in the hospital.
When to Seek Medical Attention:
You should see a doctor when you develop symptoms of high fever or flu while travelling in an area where dengue is prevalent. The condition is common in tropical regions such as South East Asia, the Far East and the Indian Subcontinent.
Consult a doctor in case the condition is severe. Be sure to tell them where you have been travelling. There is little a doctor can do to help you recover, but it’s essential to get the condition diagnosed to prevent the situation from turning severe.
A blood test is usually recommended to confirm that you have dengue.
Treatment for Dengue:
Since there is no cure or specific treatment for the condition, the focus remains on relieving your symptoms while the infection runs its course.
The following can help:
- Take prescribed medicine to relieve pain and fever.
- Avoid certain medications that cause bleeding problems in people with dengue.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Get medical help if you find no improvement in the symptoms.
How to Avoid Catching Dengue:
Since there’s currently no vaccine for dengue, the best way to combat the condition is prevention. The following is what you can do to reduce the risk of being bitten:
- Use insect repellent
- Wear loose but protective clothing
- Sleep under a mosquito net
- Be aware of your environment
Rather than undergoing the painful treatment, it is advised to go in for a complete dengue fever health check-up. As this deadly disease reduces the blood platelet level drastically, a blood test for dengue fever is the best way to keep oneself informed about the extent to which the virus has attacked the body. As a result of several medical research, diagnosis of dengue fever is improving with every passing year. Viewing the fast pace growth of the healthcare industry, we shall soon be able to eradicate the disease entirely. For the time being, prevention is the best remedy.