Dengue fever - Do's & Dont's
Dengue fever has literally become a life-threatening disease in reality, especially in Tamil Nadu. It looks like that every Thursday has to be observed as Dengue Mosquitoes eradication day . Dr.& Prof.R.Somasekar of Egmore Children’s Hospital, Chennai further emphatically states as ‘Dengue fever Control – Every one’s Responsibility.’ He elaborates hereunder as to how it spreads, its treatment and the preventive measures to be adopted:-
Dengue fever is caused by a virus. ‘Aedes’ mosquito is responsible for spreading from one person to another. This mosquito bites only during day time and it will lay its eggs in good water and spread.
Pain at the back of the eyes
Bone-breaking pain at the joints(most important symptom)
Appearance of red dots over the body (most dangerous)
Types of Dengue:-
Dengue haemorrhagic fever - in this type of dengue, the virus will destroy the platelets in our blood; this component is only responsible for causing blood clotting. When this gets reduced, it will cause blood loss through gum, nose, lungs, stomach, urinary tract and bone joints
Dengue Shock Syndrome – Normally, dengue will subside on the 7th day and the patient will become normal. But for some, it will cause an alarm wherein their limbs will become chill; they will find it difficult to breathe and their blood pressure and pulse rate will reduce and they may even lose their consciousness.
The first type will get cured just like any other normal fever. The body temperature will be more than 104degree with cough, cold, headache and body ache.
But the second and the third types are life-threatening in nature. Under these types, along with the above symptoms, stomach ache, vomiting, purging, reduction in platelets and the concomitant blood-oozing through gum, rectum etc. will be noticed. If this is not properly treated, it will lead to fatal end.
‘Elisa’ in blood test can be done to find out the presence of dengue fever.
Normal count of platelets in our body is between 1,50,000 to 4,50,000 nos. per microliter of blood. This will be normal during the first two days of dengue fever attack. It will start reducing during the next three days and it will reduce maximum on the 6th day. However, on the 7th day, it will start increasing. This test will help the doctor to decide whether to give platelets for the patient or not.
When hospitalization is necessary?
If urine output is low
When the tear from the eyes of children is very low or nil while crying
When lips, tongue and mouth dry completely
If eyes form hallow space
If the pulse rate exceeds 100 per minute
If hands, feet and fingers are cold
The most primary treatment is to compensate the loss of water in the body
To take more ORS, tender coconut, porridge, fruit juice and butter milk
If oral intake is not possible, it has to be given through IV fluid
Paracetamol tablet is enough for curing the fever.
Dengue patients need to be given acetaminophen tablets once in six hours (4 doses per day)
Most important instruction is that no other pain killers or aspirin or aspirin content tablets should not be given
Cold water fomentation will give considerable relief
Since dengue is a virus, antibiotic medicines are not needed
Similarly, as this is related to blood platelets, unnecessary injections should be avoided
If fever persists, the patient should immediately consult a doctor instead of buying medicines over the counter
It is imperative to avoid quack doctors and unnecessary injections for this
If fever is there, nila vembu liquid should be taken which is available in all Public Health Centres
Pure papaya leaf essence will help increase the platelet count
If the doctor insists on staying in bed in the hospital, it should not be ignored. The patient can be attended regularly and properly if only the patient is an in-patient
How to prevent dengue from spreading?
It is relatively easier. The following measures are worth following:-
The aedes mosquitoes are capable of hatching their eggs in clean water and hence all vessels that contain clean water in the house should be securely closed
The surroundings must be kept clean devoid of rubbish, old tyres, empty bottles, paper cups, coconut shells and tender coconut shells
The quantity of good water that is required for the laying of eggs is immaterial. Even 10 ml. clean water is sufficient
In the case of fridges the collected water at the rear side should be cleaned regularly and monitored
All storage containers should be cleaned with bleaching powder at least once a week
It is not enough if we keep our home front clean and tidy. The school premises as well as office rooms of working places must also be kept clean
Only boiled water must be used for drinking
Mosquito net can be used. Nets can also be used for windows in order to prevent mosquitoes from entering
Hands are required to be cleaned with soap water after toilet use and before cooking and eating
Additionally, the patient should not take unnecessary medicines nor injections nor even glucose through intravenous.
Adequate awareness must be there in terms of not approaching unreliable doctors based on advertisements which will otherwise lead to death.
Yet another most important precaution is that even after the fever comes down, the patient (especially, the children) must be watched carefully for next 48 hours without fail. Children’s feet and hands should be tested for undue chillness. This after-fever precaution should not be neglected under any circumstances.
Prevention is always better than cure!
Let us eradicate mosquitoes and avoid dengue!!
Let us enjoy a healthy life!!!
(This article written in Tamil by Balu Sathya has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)