Rising dengue cases in Bengaluru: Symptoms, treatment, prevention tips

With the number of reported dengue cases in the city breaching the 2,000 mark, here’s everything you must know about the symptoms, treatment options, and preventive measures
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.

BENGALURU: During every monsoon, dengue fever cases tend to rise. Over the last few weeks, there has been a significant increase in dengue cases, with some patients requiring hospital admission and specialised care. Thus, it is crucial to recognise early symptoms and take precautions.

What are the symptoms?

Dengue fever, caused by the dengue virus, is spread by the vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito. It usually appears in three phases: the febrile phase, the critical phase, and the recovery phase. Patients develop symptoms within 8-12 days after the mosquito bite, which is during the febrile phase. These include high-grade fever, severe myalgia, backache, headache, and rash. These symptoms are common among both children and adults and may last for three to five days.

Children may additionally have abdominal pain, vomiting, nosebleeds, and gum bleeding. If there is a delay in diagnosis and patient care, complications such as bleeding manifestations, severe tiredness, giddiness on standing, and shock can occur. This is the critical phase which commonly occurs after three to four days of fever and lasts for two to three days or longer.

Treating dengue

Treatment for dengue is predominantly symptomatic and revolves around proper hydration. In children, if the fever doesn’t subside after three days, parents should take their child to a paediatrician to assess their condition and offer treatment accordingly.

Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.

At home, fever can be managed with over-the-counter medicines like paracetamol. You can take it a maximum of four times a day. Avoid diclofenac, ibuprofen, and other steroids.

Stay hydrated with water, coconut water, buttermilk, and homemade fresh fruit juices. Eat soft foods and look out for warning signs like severe vomiting, abdominal pain, confusion, and giddiness while standing as these may warrant immediate medical help.

Hospitalisation is recommended if the platelet count drops below 50,000.

Dengue during pregnancy

Dengue fever during pregnancy poses significant risks to both the mother and the foetus. Dengue infection can increase the risk of pre-term labour (birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and low birth weight (less than 2,500 gm). These complications arise due to restricted foetal growth caused by damage to the placenta, the vital organ that nourishes the baby.

In severe cases, dengue can cause a dramatic drop in platelet count (thrombocytopenia), triggering bleeding problems and dengue hemorrhagic fever. This can lead to matebolic acidosis (a buildup of acid in the blood), negatively affecting the baby’s development and growth. The combined effects of maternal illness, low oxygen delivery to the baby, and potential placental dysfunction can cause growth restriction in the womb. However, once the mother recovers from dengue and her health stabilises, the baby’s growth often gets back on track.

Prevention is key for all during dengue seasons. Wear protective clothing with full sleeves, use mosquito repellent, and stay indoors during peak mosquito hours. Keep the environment free from mosquito breeding sites like stagnant water bodies. For pregnant women, regular prenatal care is crucial, as it can help detect and address viral illnesses like dengue early, improving health outcomes for both mother and baby.

(The writer is a consultant - internal medicine, Manipal Hospital Jayanagar)

Disclaimer

The information provided on this page is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the help of a medical professional regarding any health condition.

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