Dengue is often referred to as “bone-breaking” illness or “dandy fever” that basically wipes you out. Most of the key symptoms of dengue are neurological, pertaining to aches and pains, and in severe cases it shows central nervous system abnormalities like encephalitis. It is a feverish illness that affects infants, young children and adult with symptoms coming to light within 2-10 days after the infective bite. The symptoms range from mild fever, to debilitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint ache and rash accompanied by nausea and vomiting. While most of the people are aware of this fatal disease, still a lot of misconceptions hover over our minds. Let us get our facts corrected to stay safer.
MYTHS Vs. FACTS
1. You’re not safe even if you live in a high-rise building.
It’s silly to think mosquitoes are not present at higher altitudes. Dengue mosquito generally fly a few feet off the ground, since that is where they find their potential victim. They actually can fly higher, but mostly they target and bite on the feet as that is the common exposed area. However, if you live in a high-rise building, mosquitoes might not come there flying by choice but they can always travel inside elevators or breed in stagnant water present on the terrace or in coolers etc, even a spoon full of water is enough for them to breed and flourish. So, the point is you are not safe anywhere and you must protect yourself.
2. Dengue mosquito can bite at any time of the day.
One must remember that the adult mosquitoes like to bite during day time but it can also bite at night when the lights are on.
3. Spraying insecticides is just not enough to eradicate dengue.
Spraying or fogging with insecticides is the most common step used to kill adult mosquitoes. But certainly it is not the most effective method. This is because it will kill only adult mosquitoes outside the house and not the larva breeding in stagnant water or mosquitoes hiding around inside your house. Therefore, even if we kill adult mosquito by spraying insecticide that will not end the problem to the core.
4. Not everyone suffering from dengue must be hospitalized.
Dengue is itself a self-limiting disease. Most of the dengue fever cases can be taken care at home through proper administration of oral fluids. Only severe cases need hospitalization. Further platelet transfusion is not the primary treatment. It is required only when the patient’s platelet count is less than 10,000 and there is active bleeding. Unnecessary platelet transfusion can be dangerous.
5. Low platelet count does not necessarily mean you’re suffering from dengue.
If you have low platelet count together with high fever, you might have contracted dengue. But, it can be confirmed only after proper medical test. As, similar symptoms are also present during Chikungunia, HIV, yellow fever, malaria, hepatitis B/C, scrub typhus, leptospirosis etc. Hence, do not self-treat always consult a doctor.
6. If you’ve had dengue once, you are not forever immune to dengue.
There is a little point missing when one says, you develop lifelong immunity after you contract dengue once. Well, there are four types of dengue virus. Each episode of infection will give you a lifelong protective immunity to the same serotype, but you may fall prey to it’s other serotypes. In fact, if the second infection is caused by a different serotype than the first infection, you’re at a greater risk of developing severe dengue.
What to do when you fall prey to Dengue?
- Adequate bed rest.
- Increase your fluid intake, i.e more than 5 glasses of plain water for an average person
- Take paracetamol but not more than 4 gram per day.
- Wipe patient’s body with wet cloth or sponge whole body with a wet cloth.
- Use mosquito repellent or a mosquito net even during day time to prevent mosquito bites.
- Look for mosquito breeding places in and around your home and eliminate them by fogging or spraying.