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Dengue hemorrhagic fever

Learn about this potentially fatal disease so that you can protect your child against it.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) is a severe type or complication of dengue fever that can be fatal if undetected early.

Other names it goes by are: Philippine, Thai, or Southeast Asian hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.

Signs and Symptoms

DHF has the same symptoms with dengue fever early on.

However after a few days, the child may exhibit:

  • Restlessness, irritability and sweatiness
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Bleeding
    • Small spots of blood on the skin and large areas of blood under the skin
    • Easy bruising
    • Spitting up blood
    • Presence of blood in the stool
    • Bleeding gums
    • Nose bleeds
  • Black stool
  • Symptoms of shock which is characterized by: cold, clammy arms and legs, sweating, weak pulse, blue-tinged lips. Note: If these are present in your child, seek medical help immediately.

Read: Dengue fever in children

Treatment

Because dengue hemorrhagic fever it is a complication of dengue fever, it has no treatments. There is no alternative left but to let it run its course. However, DHF symptoms can be treated to ease pain and discomfort and prevent death by using or doing the following:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Monitoring of blood pressure
  • Transfusion of blood or platelets to combat bleeding
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids to correct electrolyte imbalances and rehydrate
  • Oxygen therapy to increase low blood oxygen
  • Intensive care support, if needed

Prognosis

If dengue hemorrhagic fever is caught on early on, the child is expected to make a full recovery. It becomes more difficult to recover from DHF when a child is headed towards shock. This is why it is crucial to detect DHF immediately.

Complications

  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • Damage to other organs
  • Shock

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