Delhi’s first dengue case reminded us again that ignoring symptoms of fever and rash can be cause hospitalisation, and in some cases, death.
Last year, dengue infected 1,312 people and killed 2 in Delhi.
Experts say Aedes — dengue-carrying mosquitoes — feed every eight hours, biting at least three healthy people in a day.
“This is why dengue spreads faster than other mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, where the mosquito feeds every 72 hours, infecting one person in three days,” said Dr K.K. Aggarwal, chief physician, Moolchand Medcity.
Watch out for high fever accompanied with severe headache, muscle and joint pain — which can be so severe that dengue is also called “break-bone fever”.
Rashes are first visible on the lower limbs and the chest and gradually spread over the entire body. Dengue patients may also suffer from gastritis with some abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea.
Dengue symptoms are quite similar to those of influenza and thus it can be misdiagnosed.
“That’s why people should not self-medicate to treat fever during this season. All cases of high fever should be taken seriously and a doctor consulted,” said Aggarwal.
Another common myth is dengue cases need platelet — a blood component — transfusion. But what they really need is fluid replacement to prevent dehydration.
“Only those whose platelet is 20,000 or below, with manifestations of bleeding, need platelet infusion,” said Dr Bir Singh, professor of community medicine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Dengue fever usually lasts for about a week.
Prevention of dengue mainly resides in controlling the breeding of dengue-causing mosquitoes.