CAUSE: Dengue fever is not common, but it can spread
fast. This viral disease is spread by the daytime biting Aides mosquito. The Aides mosquito is an indoor breeder that
thrives on clean, stagnant water in storage containers, coolers and flower vases.
SYMPTOMS: In infants and toddlers, the disease presents like any other viral illness with fever lasting up to 5
days, running of the nose, a mild cough and congestion of the throat.
Older children may have more annoying symptoms. The incubation period of the disease is 1 to 7 days. There
is a sudden onset of high fever with severe headache and pain in the muscles or joints. The child may get a rash during
first day or two of fever. The child then develops a marked loss of
appetite. This may be associated with nausea, vomiting and
enlargement of the glands in different parts of the body. The fever
may last for about a week, only to reappear again after a day or two.
The second episode of fever is rather mild. Severe weakness
during the illness and also after recovery is quite
Most children recover without much of a problem. A few children may develop a bleeding tendency that can be
fatal if left untreated.
TREATMENT: No antibiotic is helpful in this disease. Aspirin should never be given, as it can increase the
bleeding tendency. The child only needs rest, frequent small
meals, paracetamol and sponging to relieve pain and bring down the high fever. However, hospitalisation is a must if the
disease reaches the dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) stage with bleeding manifestations, enlargement of the liver and
low count of platelets in the blood.
PREVENTION: All coolers not in use should be kept dry. Water in flower vases should be changed frequently.
Water storage containers should be covered with tight-fitting
lids. To avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, see
Bites And Stings.
7 March, 2016