- Dengue fever is like any other viral fever
- Most patients with dengue fever can be treated at home
- Don’t be obsessed with low platelet count
- Hydration does magic
At present we are facing the dengue epidemic and there are a lot of cases especially in the children. This increased incidence of the illness and a lot of myths associated with the disease is causing a lot of anxiety and panic in the parent’s minds.
At Continental Hospital’s Continental Children’s Center we are treating a lot of children with Dengue and Dengue like illness and this season we have seen about 1500 children. Out of this only 30% of them required hospital admission and the rest were treated as outpatients. Only 25 children required admission in intensive care unit and none of the patient required blood or platelet transfusion.
Here we want to give the clear picture of the disease, treatment and danger signs to help dispel the anxiety of the parents.
What are the signs of Dengue and how it is different from other viral fever?
To start with Dengue fever is like any other viral fever. The things that can differentiate Dengue from other viral fever is sudden onset of high fever, of about 103–105°F, associated with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, exhaustion, and rash over the body and can be associated with nausea or vomiting. The symptoms can last for over for 5–7 days. This can happen in normal viral fever also but in Dengue the exhaustion and joint pain are very severe and children look sick even when the fever is not present.
What are the danger signs of Dengue fever?
Any child who has features such as - severe pain in the abdomen, persistent vomiting, not passing enough urine or feeling very weak or excessive sleepiness with fever or 1to 2 days after fever subsides are the children who should be taken to doctor immediately.
Can dengue fever be treated at home?
Most patients with dengue fever can be treated at home. They should take rest, drink plenty of fluids and maintain a nutritious diet. Taking plenty of fluids is very important and prevents the complications of the Dengue fever.
Fever should be treated with fever medicines and antibiotics are not required.
How the doctors treat my child in the hospital?
If the home remedy is not working or the child is very sick, then the child is admitted to the hospital. The treatment is hydration with giving intravenous fluids, treatment of vomiting and monitoring the blood parameters to look for thickness of blood(haematocrit), liver enzymes etc.
What is the role of platelet count and how often do we require to check it?
Platelet count usually decreases during the course of illness but treatment and assessment of severity is based on the degree of dehydration and thickness of blood(haematocrit) and platelet count have no role in either of them. The risk of bleeding is associated with decreased blood supply to vital organs and low blood pressure. If these are normal chances of bleeding is not present. Hence if child is clinically improving with good oral intake and no dehydration, low platelet count will not cause a problem, but if child has low blood pressure and severe dehydration, chances of bleeding is present even with normal platelet count.
What is the role of herbal medications to improve the platelet count?
Again, treatment is for improving hydration and none of remedies other than hydration have been scientifically proven.
Is there a vaccine to prevent dengue fever?
Vaccines to prevent dengue fever are under trial. None is available in the market.
How can I prevent Dengue?
Dengue is caused by the bite of Aedes mosquitoes, which bites during the day, and the highest biting intensity is about 2 hours after sunrise and before sunset. To prevent the bite wearing full-sleeve clothes and long dresses especially when going outside, using mosquito repellents and preventing water from accumulating and mosquito breeding are important factors.
The important factor is to prevent bite of mosquitoes, giving good fluid intake during the fever and keeping the eye on the danger signs will help us to prevent the disease and the complications in children says Dr.AnjulDayal Sr. Consultant Pediatric Intensivist , Continental Hospitals