About Dengue Fever
Dengue fever is an illness that comes with various symptoms like exhaustion, fever, headache, a rash and muscle and joint pains. The disease is spread by mosquitoes and can be very serious and even deadly. It usually strikes people that have a low level of immunity.
People can also get Dengue fever multiple times since four different serotypes of the the virus can cause it. Once a person has had a particular serotype, they are immune to it. Other names for Dengue fever are “breakbone” and “dandy fever.”
Dengue fever is found mostly in Central American countries. It is also common in the tropics and subtropics. It is possible for tourists that have visited countries in South America, Asia or the Caribbean to bring back dengue fever with them.
In 2009, there was an outbreak in Key West, Florida where three people that did not travel anywhere ended up catching the virus. Most people living in the city were shown to have immunity to the disease.
While dengue fever is not common in the United States, it is in other countries. There are about 100 million cases of dengue fever each year that send people the hospital. People get the disease from mosquitoes that have bitten someone else with the disease. Other than mosquito bites, dengue fever is not contagious and cannot be given from one person to another without the presence of a mosquito.
After a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito, the signs of dengue fever usually take a few days to appear. Those that have dengue fever will start to have chills as well as pain behind their eyes or headaches. There will also be joint pain and pain in the lower back and legs. Body temperature will quickly go up to as high as 104 degrees.
A facial rash and swollen glands usually follow. The fever lasts from about two to four days. After this, the body temperature will drop quickly and there will be excessive sweating. A person will feel fine for about a day and then their temperature will rapidly go up again. A rash will appear on the whole body and the palms and feet will become swollen. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment and Prevention
Dengue fever is a virus, meaning there is no cure or way to instantly get rid of it. The main thing to worry about is treating the symptoms of the disease and waiting it out. A lot of rest and consumption of fluids to stay hydrated is very important.
You should check with a doctor before taking any kind of drugs to treat it as some drugs may actual make things worse. Tylenol might be recommended to relief severe headache and joint pain. Other than that, the only real cure is bed rest. Anything else would likely just be a placebo.
The best treatment for dengue fever is to not get it at all. There are steps that people can take to prevent contracting the disease. In order to keep the virus from spreading, one must avoid being bitten by a mosquito when they have the virus. Until the second stage of dengue fever has passed, patients will need to be under a mosquito net. This will cut down on the spread of the disease.
Mosquitoes that carry the virus must be wiped out. People in areas that are affected by dengue fever are urged to empty out old water to prevent mosquitoes from harboring there. Some government plans in these countries have not worked so well at keeping mosquito populations down.
The next thing to do is to keep yourself from being bitten by a mosquito, especially one carrying dengue fever. You should wear long pants and sleeves. Bug sprays can also be used, especially in places known for having mosquitoes with dengue fever.
Staying indoors two hours after sunrise and before sunset while avoiding standing water will also help lower your chances of being bitten. There is no vaccine for dengue fever yet, but it could possibly be available sometime in 2012. In the meantime, it is still being tested.
Dengue fever is nothing to mess with and should be taken seriously. While it is not necessarily fatal, all precautions should be taken to avoid the disease altogether. If you are planning on traveling to a country that is known to have instances of dengue fever, make sure you are prepared with everything you need in the event that you do come down with the virus.
Be aware of where the medical facilities are where you are staying and have emergency contact information readily available. By following the steps listed above, you should be able to steer clear of dengue fever as much as possible.