Every year many people in Pakistan suffer from dengue virus which results in dengue fever. The fever is caused by the bite of the female Aedes mosquito (Aedes aegypti). These mosquitos breed in stagnated water. Dengue causes a wide spectrum of disease, which can range from subclinical disease (where people might not know they are infected) to severe symptoms.
People living in hot and humid areas are the most affected by this virus. Pakistan due to its climate, population density, and various other factors is prone to the spread of the dengue virus, which is why it is extremely important to follow precautions all year long to ensure prevention. WHO estimates annual infections affecting 100-400 million people across more than 100 countries. The Government of Pakistan has been taking various measures to curb the seasonal breeding of Aedes mosquitoes. However, the curb of the virus requires collective effort by following guidelines for the prevention of dengue fever.
In this article, we will provide you with a detailed overview of the symptoms, treatment, and preventive measures associated with dengue fever.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
Symptoms of dengue fever range from mild to severe. In most cases it is mild but in case of severe illness, it can be extremely dangerous and can be potentially fatal. Dengue causes flu-like symptoms and can last up to 2-7 days. The incubation period for dengue fever is between 4-10 days after the bite of the infected mosquito. Following are the symptoms of dengue virus:
- High grade fever
- Severe headache
- Pain behind the eyes
- Muscular, bone or joint pain
- Rash on the skin
- Nausea and vomiting
In case, you develop any severe symptoms of dengue during 3 to 7 days after infection, hospitalization becomes necessary. Severe symptoms of dengue are:
- Severe cramps in abdomen
- Constant vomiting
- Breathing issues
- Bleeding from gums or nose
- Presence of blood in vomit
- Restlessness or fatigue
Note: In case of severe symptoms or dengue related complications, consult a doctor immediately.
Treatment of Dengue Fever
If you develop symptoms of dengue virus, you should immediately see a doctor and get tested. If the doctor recommends hospitalization, immediately get admitted to a hospital for treatment. If you have mild symptoms, you would be recommended home treatment. During treatment you should:
- Take a lot of rest.
- Eat healthy and nutritious food.
- Drink plenty of fluids – it is recommended to drink fluids with electrolytes like ORS.
Note: Taking ibuprofen and aspirin in dengue is strongly advised against by health experts. Use all medicines after consulting a doctor.
Prevention of Dengue
There are different preventive measures on different levels that you can take to prevent dengue. Below is a list of preventive measures you can take to avoid getting infected with the dengue virus.
Preventive Measures for Individuals
- Do not go out two hours after sunrise and two hours after sunset as biting intensity of Aedes mosquitoes is the highest during these times.
- Wear long sleeved clothes with light colors. Avoid dark color clothing because they attract mosquitoes.
- Apply insect repellent lotion throughout the day.
- Sleep under mosquito nets even during the day.
Preventive Measures at the Household Level
- Spray insecticides in your house with a special focus on dark corners and areas like under the bed, behind cupboards, under trees, etc.
- Keep your doors and windows closed to ensure that mosquitoes do not enter.
- Use coils and vaporizers inside the house to prevent mosquitoes from coming in.
- Drain out any stagnated water in or around your house.
- Regularly drain and change water in birdbaths, fountains, plants, etc.
- Turn over or cover objects that can collect water like wheelbarrow, pet bowls, drums, etc.
- Cover water tanks with a tight lid to prevent mosquitos from entering.
- Clean drainpipes on the roof or around the house to ensure flow of water without stagnation
- Drain out and clean trays under the fridge, air conditioner, water coolers, vases, and indoor plants at least once a week.
Preventive Measures at the Neighborhood Level
- Keep your streets clean and do not place objects outside your house that can collect water.
- Properly dispose-off your trash.
- Do not dump trash or waste in the water drains in your neighborhood.
- Regularly monitor your neighborhood and drain any stagnated water, you see.
You can also read these detailed guidelines on dengue Virus by the Government of Pakistan.
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