Every year, our country struggles with dengue, with a huge number of people getting infected and some of them requiring hospitalization. Dengue is an extremely common viral infection which is transmitted by mosquitoes and presents as high-grade fever, body aches and pain in the joints.
Here are some essential facts that you should know about Dengue
1. What Are The Symptoms?
-Dengue should be suspected when you have a sudden onset of high-grade fever with a severe headache, pain behind the eyes, abdominal pain, body aches, rash and vomiting. The fever can lasts for 5-7 days.
-Around 3-7th day of illness, the fever will be very less or even normal.
-This marks the beginning of the critical phase where there could be a rapid decrease in decrease in platelet count.
-It is important to monitor the platelet count and watchful of danger signs (bleeding, rash, abdominal pain or vomiting). It usually lasts for 2-3 days.
2. How Is Dengue Diagnosed?
-Dengue is diagnosed by a blood test called Dengue Specific Antigen DS-1 (with or without Dengue Antibodies) and complete blood count (CBC) including platelet count.
-Typically, a patient will be positive for dengue-specific antigen, decrease in platelet count and decrease in total white blood cells count.
-The normal platelet count is between 1.5 lakh -4 lakh.
3. How Should Dengue Be Managed At Home?
-Most patients with dengue fever will not require hospitalization.
-They should take adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids (3-4 litres) and monitor the platelets closely.
-Use cold sponging and Paracetamol for fever.
-Aspirin, Ibuprofen other painkillers should be avoided.
-Antibiotics are not required.
-It is important to be watchful of any danger signs (bleeding, rash, abdominal pain or vomiting).
-The patient can follow up with their doctor every 24 hour.
4. When Does A Patient Need To Be Hospitalized?
-The patient is usually admitted if he is dehydrated or bleeding or has any other danger signs.
-The patient is generally not admitted if the platelet count is above 50,000.
-The platelet transfusion is generally given if the platelet count is less than 10,000 in absence of bleeding manifestations.
5. Can A Person Get Dengue Again?
-It is possible to get dengue more than once.
-There are 4 different but related strains of dengue virus.
-Being affected by one strain offers no protection against the others.
6. Is A Dengue Patient Infectious?
-Dengue will not spread by touch, cough or secretions. But the spread of dengue from a patient to others is possible through a mosquito bite.
-The patient should be protected from contact with the mosquito by ensuring he sleeps under a bed net.