What Is Dengue Fever Exactly?

Dengue Fever is no joke. It is unforgiving, life-threatening (it has already killed thousands), and most of the times all it takes is a single bite from the right mosquito.

A single bite. And the right mosquito in question is the Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti found in most tropical countries such as India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil, Malaysia, etc. The Aedes aegypti is a particularly nasty one because it chooses no time in which to strike. In theory, they bite at dusk and dawn, but in practice, they can bite anytime of the day.

How do you know if you have Dengue Fever? Watch out for these symptoms:

1. High fever which lasts from 2 to 7 days, up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit or 40.5 degrees Celsius

2. Severe headache

3. Retro-orbital pain (or pain behind the eye)

4. Muscle aches and pains

5. Severe joint pains (Dengue fever is also known as breakbone fever.)

6. Enlarged lymph nodes

7. General weakness

8. Nausea and Vomiting

9. and the classic Hemorrhagic rash.

This rash is characterized by bright red pinpoints known as “petechiae”. It may spread all over the body. Patients with Dengue fever may also cough up or vomit bits of congealed blood, and may even ooze blood out of various orifices of the body including eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.

This is why Dengue fever is more properly called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.

First identified in 1779, Dengue fever up to now cannot be prevented by a vaccine. Likewise, there are no drugs that offer a cure except for supportive therapy. It is crucial then that at the onset of fever and rash, people are advised to consult a physician right away to curb the progress of the disease.

Supportive therapy for Dengue fever includes oral rehydration, platelet transfusion, intravenous fluids, and close monitoring of the patient’s vital signs.

Also, since there is no cure to the dengue virus yet, the only way to address the issue is to target the breeding places of mosquitoes to curtail their spread. As we all know, mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water (Aedes aegypti has been known to favor clean water).

Preventive Ways to Stop Dengue Fever

1. Clean up your backyard.

2. Check for stagnant water, including flower vases, pails, cans, bins, tires, aquariums, puddles, etc. Replace the water in vases regularly, empty the cans and keep them upside down.

3. Buy a mosquito-repellant lotion for you and your family.

4. Opt for long sleeves and pants and, if possible, even socks.

5. If you’re swift, kill a mosquito and more. This is no time to be squeamish.

Just by following these steps and, of course, enjoining everyone in the community, you can stop the spread of Dengue fever. Actually you get to stop the spread of two diseases-Dengue and Malaria-so that’s two birds with one stone. No, we mean mosquitoes.

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