Infectious Diseases

Dengue Outbreak: What to do?

atnurse
Dengue Statistics

I posted this article as a reminder and a warning after typhoon Glenda hit the Philippines in July this year. Today, I am re-posting it to give some information for the Japanese locals who have not had an outbreak of this deadly virus in the last 70 years.

We Filipinos are so used to an outbreak of Dengue because every year thousands are hit and hundreds die from it. Last year’s statistics alone recorded 42,207 cases from January to June (Department of Health Records).

Things You Need to Know About Dengue

atnurse
White-Spotted Aedes Aegypti Mosquito

Dengue Fever is caused by a virus that is commonly transmitted by the female “Aedes Aegypti” mosquito.  It is a manageable disease especially when diagnosed early. However, with late management it has the potential to progress into a life threatening situation.

The common symptoms of Dengue include: sudden fever with no known cause, headache, muscle and joint pains, body weakness, appearance of red ball-point rashes, mouth or nose bleeding, nausea, vomiting and in some cases diarrhea. In infants and children, they may show signs of irritation, crying spells, loss of appetite and lack of interest for play.

There  are three stages of the disease: (1) Febrile Stage is when the fever reaches up to 40 °C (104 °F) or higher and the other other accompanying symptoms appear, (2) Critical Stage usually occurs when the fever resolves, which many people mistake as the resolution phase. It is critical because this is when the blood plasma shifts outside of the bloodstream and accumulates inside the lungs or abdominal cavity. The platelet levels also become dangerously low at this stage that may cause moderate to severe bleeding. This stage can progress to “dengue shock syndrome” and in severe cases death, but if fluid is replaced immediately and bleeding controlled, it may proceed to the recovery phase. (3) Recovery Stage occurs immediately after the platelet levels begin to increase and the fluid levels normalize.

The most important thing to do is to seek medical help at the first sign of fever especially if there is an outbreak in your area. Dengue fever can easily be determined by a simple blood test.

Dengue Prevention Tips

The old saying that prevention is better than cure is highly recommended in Dengue Fever. The most common concern is to eradicate breeding places for mosquitoes that carry the virus. Follow these simple prevention tips:

1. Mosquitoes breed in water that is why Dengue outbreak is common in the rainy season. So remove breeding places of mosquito such as your flower pots and vases whether inside or outside the house, keep your garden clean, cover all water containers in the house, dispose garbage regularly, clean your roof gutters and dispose unused bottles and cans. It is also a good investment to put screens around your house.

2. When going out, wear clothes that cover the most part of your body, and avoid dark colored ones as they tend to attract mosquitoes. Wear socks and closed shoes too, instead of slippers and sandals.

3. Avoid the outdoors if there is an outbreak and keep away from places where cases have been reported; include hospitals and clinics in your list. If it can be avoided, do so, unless you’re the one who needs medical attention.

4. Insect repellants come in very handy. In children, put a small amount of the solution on the edges of their clothes instead of applying directly on their skin.

5. Lastly, protect yourself by eating healthy, exercising regularly and having enough sleep.

Again, a the first sign of fever and other symptoms, immediately consult a health professional. Stay safe! irmz

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