While the monsoons may have been delayed this year, preparing in advance for the dengue season is advisable. In 2013, 109 people died of Dengue fever alone in India. This is a gross underestimation. We all know many cases go unreported and patients who don’t show up at hospitals are never included.
What causes Dengue Fever
The bite of the Aedes species mosquito can lead to dengue fever. These mosquitoes carry and transmit the virus that causes dengue fever. These mosquitos are more active during the day and are found near human dwellings. The mosquito breeds in stagnant water. So, pots and pans used for storing water, indoor and outdoor fountains, and plant holders not attended to, serve as breeding grounds for the mosquito larvae. Only one bite by a virus-carrying mosquito can cause dengue.
Symptoms of dengue fever
Dengue can often go undetected as the symptoms are similar to those of a viral flu or malaria. The fever can occur weeks after the infecting mosquito bite. If you have the following symptoms, you may want to get tested for Dengue.
How can one prevent dengue fever? 1. Shield yourself from mosquito bites
There is no vaccination for dengue, so the most effective way to protect yourself is to apply insect repellents on your skin. Insect repellent patches are available in the market, which stick to clothing and have been found to be effective in keeping mosquitos away.
2. Keep your home clutter free
The balconies and terraces of Indian homes can become storage areas for household trash, unattended plants, and containers that accumulate rain water. Clear your house of unused bins, containers and other trash. Look out for plastic covers that pool water under or over them – keep them as dry as possible.
While dengue fever typically lasts three to four days, if left untreated, it can lead to complications, such as respiratory distress, severe bleeding, and damage to the organs. So, if you suspect dengue fever, seek medical help immediately. Try to avoid fever-reducing medications that contain ibuprofen or aspirin, if you suspect dengue fever, until you get the appropriate evaluation and blood tests reviewed by your doctor.