Dengue fever seems like a normal occurrence in tropical countries. The fact that the hot and humid environment favours the growth and breed of the mosquito responsible for dengue fever. Dengue fever is caused by dengue virus. Dengue virus is usually carried by the Aedes mosquitoes, specifically females one and only the infected mosquito is able to infect humans. The mosquito is said to be infected when it bites humans with a circulating dengue virus in the human body. The mosquito then spreads the dengue infection by biting other healthy humans. Dengue fever may seem harmless but when it is not treated well, it could definitely lead to severe form and may even lead to life-threatening conditions.

Before knowing what kind of treatment methods for dengue fever, you may want to know more about dengue fever itself. Dengue fever may affect anyone of any age. Symptoms of dengue fever include fever that lasts from 2 to 7 days, headaches especially associated with pain behind the eyes (retro orbital headaches), muscle pain (myalgia), joint pain (arthralgia) and skin rash. Dengue infection is not only limited to those living in tropical countries but also in those living within heavily populated areas with poor hygiene such as poor draining systems and bad waste management. Dengue fever may resolve on its own but since there is a possibility of dengue fever becoming a severe form of dengue, people with any symptoms of dengue fever should get themselves checked by a doctor to rule out the dengue infection.

Once a person is diagnosed with dengue fever, immediate treatments will be given by healthcare professionals. Do you know that there are no specific treatments for dengue? For instance, in case of bacterial infection, antibiotics are given but in case of dengue, there is no specific medicine that can eliminate the dengue virus from the body. Thus, treatment methods available aim to provide relief and to support patient’s wellbeing. In mild cases, resting at home and drinking plenty of fluids is enough to get through the dengue infection. Taking paracetamol is alright to help treat fever and pain. In severe cases, fluid replacement therapy by intravenous fluid is crucial for keeping hydration level at optimum. Should there be serious bleeding issues from dengue infection, blood transfusion may be considered especially in severe dengue such as dengue shock syndrome. Prescription of paracetamol is common by injection or intravenous apart from the typical form of tablet or liquid.

Since there are no specific treatments available, the best way to treat dengue fever is to prevent getting one. “Prevention is better than cure” sure sounds right in dengue cases as there is no specific cure for dengue. There are many things you can do to help prevent dengue from catching you. Below are what you can do as preventative measures against dengue:

1)  Eliminate unwanted containers that could hold water including solid waste. Properly dispose of it to ensure there is no breeding medium for the mosquitoes.

2)  Always clean plant pots and pet water containers by scrubbing it once a week.

3)  If you do have water storage such as in the bathroom or outdoors, do add larvicides according to the recommended dose as proposed on the products label.

4)  Use aerosol repellent, mosquito coils or electric vapour to steer away mosquitoes.

5)  Sleep or take naps in bed surrounded by mosquito nets.

6)  Wear long sleeved clothes or long dresses to minimise skin exposure to mosquito bites.

7)  Use special medicated lotion to keep mosquitoes at bay.

By taking preventative measures, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of catching dengue fever. However, we all know that there is no guarantee that a person might not get dengue infection at all. Hence, if a person shows symptoms of dengue fever, he or she needs to meet a doctor. It is important to get checked by doctors to eliminate the possibility of developing a severe form of dengue. Dengue fever can be severe in the elderly, young children or those with medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

Besides knowing symptoms of dengue fever, it is important to identify warning signs as warning signs may happen even after having met doctors and asked to stay home. Warning signs include severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting more than 3 times in 24 hours, bleeding nose or gums, vomiting blood, presence of blood in stool, difficulty breathing, extreme changes of temperature from fever to cold pale skin and change in mental states marked by confusion, drowsiness or irritability. When a person experiences any of the warning signs, they need to get to the emergency department as soon as possible because this could be a sign of severe dengue.

Symptoms of dengue fever may actually seem to resolve on day 3 to day 7 after the first sign of dengue symptoms is identified. However, this may actually be a sign of a critical phase. This phase can last from 24 to 48 hours. Critical phase is the danger period of dengue where the patient’s condition can deteriorate rapidly. Thus, during this time, healthcare professionals may ask a person to stay in the hospital for at least the next 24 hours in anticipation of this phase. This allows healthcare professionals to make close observation and provide immediate support should this phase affect the patient.

In essence, treatments aim to support patients’ wellbeing and to minimise rate of fatality. There are no specific treatments for dengue.