With the incidence of dengue drastically rising, India is witnessing serious number of cases. Dengue fever is hemorrhagic and can be fatal, if not treated well in time. It primarily occurs in tropical parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, The Pacific, Australia and America. Most commonly found in cities and rural areas, this disease is rarely found in areas above 4,000 feet. The mosquitoes that breed in discarded tires, flower pots, oil drums, and water storage containers are responsible for transmitting dengue among humans. These mosquitoes usually bite during the day.
What do you feel?
The fever usually starts with a high fever, severe headaches, rashes, muscle and joint pain, and pain behind the eyes. It is also called as “breakbone fever” because of the severity of joint pains. A rash usually appears 3-4 days after the fever but the illness can last up to 10 days. The dengue infection may take more than a month to heal. Though most dengue fever result in mild illness, but can progress to hemorrhagic fever. When this happens, then blood vessels start leaking, causing bleeding from nose, mouth, and gums. Bruising can be a sign of internal bleeding. Without prompt treatment, the blood vessels collapse, causing shock (dengue shock syndrome). The fever is fatal in 5% of cases, mostly in children and young adults. Persons who were previously infected with one or more types of dengue virus are at a greater risk for developing hemorrhagic fever if infected again.
An infected person cannot spread virus to other persons, but can be a source of dengue mosquitoes for about 6 days. There is no specific treatment for dengue, however, you should rest and drink plenty of fluids. In some cases, you may require transfusions to control bleeding. There are several factors that contribute to the resurgence of dengue fever:
- There are no effective mosquito control efforts in most countries
- Public health systems to control this epidemic are deteriorating
- Increase in non-biodegradable plastic packaging and discarded tires are creating new breeding areas for mosquitoes.
- Rapid growth of cities has led to overcrowding, urban decay, and substandard sanitation
How to eliminate mosquitoes breeding areas?
- Use mosquito repellants on skin and clothing
- Avoid heavily populated residential areas
- Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants when outdoors
- Stay in air-conditioned areas or use bednets if sleeping areas are not screened
- Change water in outdoor bird baths and pet animals water containers
- Discard items that can collect rain water or run-off water, especially old tires
Prevention is Better than Cure!