Dengue in children: Signs of severe dengue every parent should be aware of

Published on Aug 12, 2022 02:52 PM IST

Dengue symptoms in kids are slightly different than adults. Here's what happens when dengue turns severe in children.

According to National Library of Medicine dengue presents more aggressively among younger age groups as compared to adults.(Unsplash)
According to National Library of Medicine dengue presents more aggressively among younger age groups as compared to adults.(Unsplash)
By, Delhi

Dengue can be both mild or severe in kids depending on whether they are getting the disease for the first time or not. Dengue fever is usually mind in young children but for older kids or adults who have had earlier infections may develop moderate or severe symptoms. Dengue symptoms in kids are slightly different than adults. Children report vomiting and petechiae while in adults, symptoms such as myalgia, nausea and pain behind eyes are more common. (Also read: Dengue: Warning signs that your infection is getting worse)

According to National Library of Medicine dengue presents more aggressively among younger age groups as compared to adults. The incubation period may range from 4 days-2 weeks and the duration of the disease could be between 2-7 days.

Here's all you want to know about the symptoms of dengue in children from experts.

"Dengue fever has been in the rise in the last few weeks. It is important to recognise when to get treated and approach your doctor. Firstly, out of four children bitten by the mosquito-borne disease, only one will show symptoms. Many of the symptoms are mild like fever, rash, joints or bony pains and body ache. But headache, especially pain behind the eye is a characteristic symptom of dengue fever though it is not a danger sign," says Dr Archana Khan, Paediatric Consultant (Special interest Paediatric Rheumatology), Masina Hospital, Byculla, Mumbai.

When dengue turns deadly in children

Dr Khan says 1 in 20 symptomatic dengue cases can become severe and all this may happen in a matter of few hours too. The paediatrician warns that dengue symptoms shouldn't be ignored and warrants an immediate visit to the doctor.

"Severe dengue happens due to lowering of platelets and/or plasma leak from the blood vessels. This can result in shock, internal bleeding, and even death. So, it is important to recognise these symptoms. Warning signs usually begin in the 24–48 hours after your fever has gone away," says Dr Khan.

Severe dengue warning signs

- Severe pain in the abdomen

- Vomiting not responding to drugs

- Water retention in the body (swelling in belly and legs)

- Bleeding from gums, oral mucosa or nose

- Vomiting blood or blood in stools

- Blood in urine

- Difficult or rapid bleeding

- Restlessness and lethargy or irritability in child.

How to take care of your child when diagnosed with dengue

"Most of the infections are mild so patient should not panic. They along with caretakers should be watchful of the symptoms. If there are any warning signs as mentioned above, they should contact see their doctor and follow their advice. At home the patient should take adequate rest, drink lots of fluid including ORS and coconut water. They can use paracetamol for fever and pain and avoid NSAIDs," says Dr Ashutosh Sinha, Head - Paediatric, Fortis Hospital, Noida.

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