Dengue fever : Signs, Symptoms and Precautions read

Oct 13 2020


Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the dengue virus. It usually occurs in tropical and subtropical areas. The main symptom of the condition is a high fever that can stay for up to two to seven days.

Every year, millions of people are affected by dengue fever. While people can recover from dengue in a week or so, the disease can progress dangerously and result in fatality if it is not treated in time.

Signs and Symptoms of Dengue Fever

After getting affected by the dengue virus, the onset of symptoms usually takes four to seven days. The symptoms of dengue may vary from person to person.

In some cases, the patient does not even experience any of the signs. Those who do show the symptoms often complain of the following health issues:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Pain in eyes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Swelling in lymph glands
  • Rashes
  • Mild bruising on the skin

If the patients get a severe form of dengue, known as dengue haemorrhagic fever, they may experience:

  • Severe pain in the abdomen
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Blood in urine and stool
  • Nose and gum bleeding
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue

In case you develop similar complications, seek medical help immediately to get timely treatment.

Risk Factors of Dengue Fever

There are several factors that can increase the chances of getting infected with dengue fever. Most of them include:

Weakened Immune System: People with low immunity are more prone to dengue infection.
Living in Tropical Areas: Those who live or travel in tropical and subtropical areas such as the Indian subcontinent, Southern China, Mexico, Taiwan, Southern Asia are at higher risk.
Prior Infections: If a person has already been infected with the virus, his/her chances of contracting the disease are higher.

Causes of Dengue Fever

The disease is caused by a virus of the Flaviviridae family which has four distinct types. These viruses are transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti. When the mosquito carrying the virus bites people, it infects their blood.

Other than mosquitoes, dengue does not spread directly from one person to another. Mostly, dengue fever is common in tropical areas due to factors like rainfall and humidity.

Diagnosis of Dengue Fever

The diagnosis of dengue is a bit difficult since the signs and symptoms mimic other health conditions such as malaria and typhoid fever. The best thing to do is to consult an experienced doctor.

Below are the common tests the doctor may recommend you for diagnosing dengue:
Physical Test: You will be required to go through a simple physical exam where the doctor will check your temperature.

  • Medical History: To determine the cause, the doctor will ask you about your medical and travel history.
  • Blood Test: This test is done to confirm the presence of infection in the blood.

If the patient is diagnosed with dengue fever, the doctor will begin the treatment plan.

Treatment of Dengue Fever

Here are some of the common recommendations given by doctors for the treatment:

  • Over-the-counter Medicines: The doctors prescribe pain relievers for fever and joint ache.
  • Rest and Diet: The doctors advise the patient to rest as much as possible while making sure that their body stays hydrated with electrolytes.
  • IV Fluids: In severe cases, the patient may be admitted to the hospital for at least 24 hours for Intravenous (IV) fluid and electrolyte replacement.

Prevention of Dengue Fever

Since there is no specific treatment available for dengue, the best thing is the prevention of the infection, especially if the person is living in a tropical area.

Some of the common preventive measures to reduce the risk of dengue fever are:

  • Stop Mosquito Breeding: Dengue is transmitted through mosquitoes. Thus, get rid of spaces where their breeding takes place such as empty tires, cans and flower pots. Do not let the water stay stagnant and become a favorable place for mosquito breeding.
  • Prevent Mosquito Bites: You can use mosquito repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts when going out.
  • Use Mosquito Nets and Traps: Use mosquito nets treated with insecticide as they are more effective in repelling mosquitoes. This is because a mosquito can bite through the net in case the person is near to the net. The insecticide on the nets will kill insects and mosquitoes or repel them from entering the room.
  • Use Doors and Window Screens: Structural barriers like netting or screens can keep mosquitos out of the inhabited room.

High-Risk Regions Where Dengue Fever is Predominant

Dengue fever is the most common in tropical and subtropical areas like parts of Africa, parts of Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

Below is the list of high-risk regions:

  • Tropical Asia, including Bangladesh, Indonesia, and parts of China
  • The Caribbean
  • Central and South America
  • Northern Australia

Unlike malaria, dengue can be caused in both rural and urban areas. However, a research published in 2011 suggests that dengue is more common in rural areas.


The Aedes mosquito-borne infection caused by four different viruses can lead to a severe flu-like illness. An effective treatment is possible if an early clinical diagnosis is made.

We may be nowhere near eradicating Dengue, but by arming ourselves with knowledge and taking adequate measures we may be able to prevent it more effectively.