Dengue fever is an illness caused by the dengue virus, which is carried and spread by the Aedes mosquitoes. These viruses cause the body to bleed easily and may affect other organ systems.
The usual symptoms experienced are:
Sometimes, dengue infection can present in the more serious form, known as Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) or Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS), whereby serious complications can occur, resulting in:
Majority of the cases are mild and self-limiting; requiring no hospitalization.
Rest in bed and reduce activities like running around and avoiding sports to reduce the risk of falls and injury, thereby preventing unnecessary bleeding.
Your child may also need to avoid brushing his teeth if his platelet counts are very low as this may lead to gum bleeding. Distract them from digging their noses or blowing their noses hard.
There is no antibiotic or anti-viral medication for dengue fever. The treatment is mainly supportive and for relief of symptoms. The main components of management of dengue fever are:
This is because
Hospitalisation may be considered when you or your child is presented with the above conditions.
Current hospital guidelines allow patients who are well and have a rising platelet trend or platelet above 70,000 to be discharged.
After discharge, a repeat blood test (details included with discharge letter) should be done 1-2 weeks later at a polyclinic or GP to confirm that the platelet count is back to normal.
However, some patients may feel very tired and another week of rest at home is advised.
No, it is not transmitted by direct spread from one person to another. Dengue is transmitted by infected mosquito bites. Hence, persons in the same vicinity may come down with dengue fever.
Yes. There are 4 strains of dengue viruses. Infection with one strain will provide protection against only that particular strain. Future infection by other strains is possible. Currently there is no vaccine available for dengue fever.
Singapore is in the tropical region where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes live. The best prevention is to get rid of mosquito breeding places:
Air conditioning or windows/ doors with mosquito screens can reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
Using mosquito repellents containing DEET as the active ingredient on exposed skin and clothing can also decrease the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
Sources: Communicable Disease Centre, Singapore National Environment Agency, Singapore
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