DENGUE IN CHILDREN Dengue [DEN-ghee]
What is dengue?
- Dengue is one of the most common mosquito-borne diseases.
- It causes a high fever and a rash.
- Most people with dengue will be ill for about ten days and, with the right treatment, will then recover.
- Untreated dengue can develop into dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) which can cause bleeding, liver failure, convulsions and even death.
How does dengue spread?
- The dengue virus is spread by the female tiger mosquito.
- These mosquitoes breed in warm, humid weather and in stagnant water.
- Can minimize the risk of catching dengue by making sure that there are no reserves of water in or around the house that can attract the mosquitoes.
- Even flower pots or vases that have stagnant water can become mosquito infested.
- Unlike most mosquitoes, dengue causing mosquitoes bite during the day.
- The number of dengue cases increases during the monsoon season.
What are the symptoms of dengue fever?
- High fever or temperature,
- Pain behind the eyes, in the joints & headaches.
- Red and white patchy skin rash.
- Followed by loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and itchiness on the soles of the feet.
What to do if child has dengue fever?
- As the symptoms of dengue and chikungunya are similar, doctor may ask for a blood test to confirm the diagnosis.
- There is no cure for dengue.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs for joint pain and paracetamol for the fever.
- Plenty of rest and give light and nourishing food.
- Put a wet cloth on his forehead every so often to help bring the fever down.
- Dengue may last up to 10 days.
How to reduce the chances of a child picking up dengue?
- No vaccine against dengue.
- Best way to protect child is to get rid of the mosquitoes that spread the virus.
- Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Make sure surrounding areas are free of stagnant water, rotting vegetation and old flower pots, especially in the monsoon season.
- Dress child in long-sleeved clothing and trousers to reduce exposed skin.
- Wear light-coloured clothes as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours
- Use citronella oil-based creams and sprays or other herbal mosquito repellents
- Use mosquito nets while sleeping
- Install mosquito meshes on windows, air conditioning also helps keeps mosquitoes at bay.
- Even if child has had an attack of dengue, it doesn’t give immunity against the other three closely related, but distinct dengue viruses.
- Dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) usually develops in people who have already had dengue. So prevention is very important.