Early Dengue Symptoms - Ways to detect the disease before it gets worse
With the rainy season comes the risk of dengue. Find out how you can detect the symptoms early on and prevent this deadly mosquito-borne disease from progressing further.
A mosquito-borne viral disease that is common in tropical countries, dengue is often seen in Asian and Latin American countries. The virus is carried by the female Aedes aegypti mosquito and cannot be directly transmitted from person to person. Instead, transfer occurs when this mosquito bites a person who is already infected. Persons who are bitten by the same mosquito afterwards may also get sick.
Dengue has become a major health concern in the Philippines, with thousands requiring medical treatment for severe cases of dengue each year. It is also one of the leading causes of childhood hospitalization in the country, with some cases even resulting in death. In the first half of 2013 alone, there were 42,207 dengue cases and 193 deaths, according to the Department of Health.
If you notice bites on your child, it won’t hurt to be a bit more vigilant and observant over the next few days in case dengue symptoms do manifest. These initial dengue symptoms usually become evident within 4 to 14 days after being bitten by a carrier mosquito.
By being able to identify early dengue symptoms, you may be able to determine when a trip to the doctor is in order, thereby preventing the illness from progressing into a serious case. Here are some things that parents should look out for if you suspect that your child might have dengue:
Pay Attention to Your Child’s Temperature
The first among the dengue symptoms to manifest is a fever. If your child has a constantly high temperature of up to 40 degrees Celsius over a period of 4 days to 2 weeks, then you should start becoming more observant on the possible emergence of other dengue symptoms. Usually, these will appear once the fever has broken, or your child’s temperature has gone down significantly.
Remember, though, that Flu-like symptoms are possible indicators of other diseases as well, like malaria, leptospirosis and typhoid fever, as well as other minor diseases, and are not 100% indicative of dengue.
See more info on early dengue symptoms on the next page.
Check for Physical Dengue Symptoms
The fever that occurs is usually paired with two or more other dengue symptoms. In most cases, the telling physical manifestation is the appearance of rashes over most of the body, including the arms and legs. Some complain of swollen glands or nodes, which is a definite sign of infection. There can also be minor bleeding in the gums or the nose, and even under the skin in severe cases, making the skin look bruised.
Ask Your Child How He or She is Feeling
Patients with dengue may feel pain behind the eyes, severe headaches, and joint and muscle pain. Nausea and vomiting can also be present. In more extreme cases, blood could be present in the child’s vomit, and he or she may feel very bad abdominal pain, fatigue and difficulty in breathing.
Dengue Symptoms: Treatment and Prevention
There is no cure for this viral illness, and at best you can only provide relief for the dengue symptoms and lessen the patient’s pain and discomfort. There is also no immunization available to protect us from dengue. It is only after acquiring each of the 4 strains of dengue that a person becomes immune to it. This means that even after you are diagnosed with one strain, you can still catch the other 3 — and in most cases, the subsequent infection and dengue symptoms are much more severe than the first.
The best protection is always prevention, so the best way to avoid dengue is to be vigilant against mosquitos and mosquito bites.