Dengue – Warning Signs And Treatment In Children
December 20, 2018 Posted by: Sai Siva Childrens Hospital 122 Views RSS
Here comes the monsoon and faces light up with happy smiles. Adults and children alike get thrilled with a gush of cool winds that offer a break from scorching summer heat. Kids love splashing in the muddy puddles and love the feel of raindrops going pitter patter. With all the joy monsoon offers, it also brings a deadly disease called Dengue.
Dengue Fever: How Is It Caused?
Dengue is a viral disease, which is spread by mosquitoes. A specific genus of mosquitoes called Aedes is responsible for transmitting the disease. When a mosquito bites an infected person and then bites another healthy person, the disease is passed on to the healthy person.
Dengue virus is most active during the rainy season. The main reason is the breeding of the mosquitoes increases tenfold during this season. The standing water near our houses forms a breeding ground for the mosquitoes. The mosquitoes act as carriers of Dengue, spreading it from person to person. The Dengue is not spread by human contact, it is not a contagious disease.
Are Children At Risk?
- Yes, individuals with low immunity, such as children get mostly affected by Dengue Fever.
- Children are at risk of catching the Dengue virus easily because they are physically very active and love playing outdoors even in the rainy season.
- It is very important to take precautions with young kids to avoid contracting Dengue.
- Babies and children 4-6 years of age are more at risk of getting affected by dengue.
Warning Signs Of Dengue: When To See The Doctor?
Dengue, if untreated can be dangerous for your child. Once bitten by a mosquito carrying dengue virus, the symptoms begin to appear within four days. In some cases, it takes about two weeks after the symptoms start showing. Small kids who are infected for the first time, usually experience mild symptoms. However, older kids and adults who had been previously infected in the past with dengue will experience severe symptoms. When you notice these symptoms in your child, call the doctor as soon as possible.
- High-grade fever, possibly as high as 105°F (40°C)
- Pain in the joints and behind the eyes, pain in the muscles and/or bones
- A severe headache
- Rash over most of the body
- Mild bleeding from the nose or gums
- Bruising easily
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe abdominal pain
- A decrease in or loss of appetite
- A runny nose along with a cough
- Extreme weakness in the body
- Difficulty in breathing, feeling lethargic, experiencing drowsiness and confusion or seizures
- Pale, cold hands and feet
The dengue fever is also characterised by intense pain in the muscles and bones, which sometimes feels like breaking of the bones. Hence dengue is also called as breakbone fever.
Watch Out For An Emergency!
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever(DHF)
It is crucial to watch out for Emergency Symptoms when your child is infected with Dengue. The disease can sometimes lead to a Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) which is deadly and mostly responsible for mortality rates.
- It is a rare complication of Dengue, which starts as a high fever and causes damage to lymph and blood vessels. Bleeding from the nose and gums is also seen. Eventually leading to enlargement of the liver, and circulatory system failure.
Dengue Shock Syndrome(DSS)
- The symptoms caused by Dengue hemorrhagic fever can lead to extensive bleeding, shock, and death, also called dengue shock syndrome (DSS).
- Higher risk of Dengue hemorrhagic fever(DHF) and Dengue Shock Syndrome(DSS) is found in people with weakened immune systems, such as kids. Kids having subsequent dengue infection are also at higher risk for developing dengue hemorrhagic fever.
How To Differentiate Between Dengue Fever And The Flu?
It is easy to confuse the symptoms of dengue fever with that of seasonal flu. Hence it is important to be able to differentiate between the two because dengue fever requires early identification and treatment to avoid severe symptoms and complications. When your child seems sick with fever, it’s vital that you check for the following symptoms- Though the doctor can diagnose the dengue with a blood test, the doctors recommend starting the treatment for dengue as early as possible, if you suspect your child may have dengue. Fever in children should be handled with utmost care, especially in the rainy season, when the dengue virus is most active. Early identification and treatment of dengue can prevent severe symptoms requiring hospitalisation and save you the expenses necessary for elaborate procedures.
Call the doctor asap, when your child gets sick with fever.
How Is Dengue Treated?
Dengue is treated based on the severity of the symptoms.
- Dengue fever in its early stages is treated by controlling the symptoms of dengue. The doctor will prescribe painkillers to help manage the intense body pains associated with dengue. However, make sure not to self-medicate yourself as some painkillers may increase the risk of Dengue hemorrhagic fever(DHF) by causing excessive bleeding.
- Mild cases of dengue can be treated by replenishing the body with lots of fluids( e.g. Coconut water or soups) to prevent dehydration. The doctor will recommend you to take rest.
- Mostly Dengue fever goes away within a week without causing any harmful effects on your child provided you get immediate medical help when your child gets a fever.
- Treatment for severe dengue symptoms requires hospitalisation and administration of IV fluids an electrolytes to replace the salts and minerals lost due to diarrhoea and vomiting. The doctor will prescribe painkillers to help manage the muscles and bone pains.
- The right treatment should be taken for dengue as soon as possible to treat the disease with minimum possible complications and less expensive treatments.
ADVANCED/CRITICAL CASES OF DENGUE
- When the dengue disease has progressed to an advanced or critical stage where the patient has lost a lot of blood(due to DHF) the doctor will recommend performing a blood transfusion for the loss of blood and avoid Dengue Shock Syndrome(DSS).
- Additionally, depending on the extent of blood loss, the doctor may recommend restoring the platelet count of the blood if the blood platelet count has stooped all-time low. The doctor will reset your platelet count by performing platelet transfusion.
The spread of dengue infection can be avoided by taking special care to keep the infected person away from getting bit by mosquitoes, so the infection doesn’t spread and turn into an epidemic.
Are Vaccines Available For Dengue?
No, vaccines are not yet available for dengue. Scientists are still trying to develop a vaccine for dengue virus. The best step that can be taken to protect your child from dengue is by taking some precautions to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes.
Precautions To Be Taken To Avoid Dengue In Kids.
If you live in a tropical or subtropical region, it's essential that you take some rigid precautions to avoid getting bit by dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
- Use Fix permanent screens or net on your doors and windows. Regularly check for any broken screens and repair them immediately. Otherwise, make sure you keep your doors and windows are shut at dusk and dawn when the mosquitoes actively spread.
- If your kids are active outdoors, make them wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants with shoes, and socks to protect them from mosquito bites. Research has proved that there has been a steep decrease in the incidence of dengue in kids when parents make the children wear long-sleeved shirts and protective clothing. Wear loose clothing, instead of tight body hugging garments, as it is difficult for mosquitoes to move around loose clothing and bite.
- Use a mosquito netting over the beds of your children at bedtime.
- Apply mosquito repellent cream on your kids to keep the mosquitoes away from your child.
- Restrict the amount of time your kids spend outside just before and after dawn since the mosquitoes are highly active around this time.
- Get rid of standing water, if any, in your neighbourhood, as it forms the breeding ground for dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Change the water regularly in your flower vases, dog bowls, bird baths or anything that has filled water in it around your house
- Keep your kids away from dengue-infected areas.
If you are travelling internationally, you can avoid getting infected by dengue by following the above precautions and avoid visiting areas that have a higher incidence of the dengue epidemic.
In India alone, the dengue incidences have been reported to be 7.5 million last year. Last year, the increase in cases of dengue was an all-time high in the last ten years, according to the report released from National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) and National Health Profile 2018. The highest risk group that gets infected by dengue each year is children 4-11 years and adolescents. Hence, it is imperative for parents to follow strict guidelines and precautions to avoid getting their children infected with dengue.
However, with all the precautions you can take as a parent, sometimes children fall sick inevitably. In such occurrence, get the earliest treatment possible for your child, at the first sign of fever, especially around the season when the dengue virus is actively spreading. Call your doctor right away, if you suspect your child is infected with dengue.
At SAI SIVA Children’s hospital, our expert doctors provide urgent treatment and immediate care, especially with kids, who report with a mild to high degree fever or show any symptoms of dengue. Do not take dengue lightly, providing treatment even at the suspicion of dengue, can save you and your child a lot of suffering and avoid progressing of the disease into a severe or advanced stage. Call us, at SIA SIVA HOSPITAL immediately, when your child shows any dengue-related symptoms like fever. We will provide immediate care for your child.
About The Hospital:
Sai Siva Children's Hospital, Chanda Nagar, is a full-fledged medical facility specially designed for pediatric patients as well as young adults. The hospital was started in the year 2008, with the aim of reaching out to schools and villages to educate the middle and high school students about health & hygiene. Sai Siva Children’s Hospital is one of the most sought-after children’s hospitals in Hyderabad with a team of experienced doctors and skilled staff who aim to help your child have healthy growth and development. We believe that children today are the future of our world, and must have good health to make the world a better place to live in.
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