Dr DN Jha
Monsoon has an old bond with a number of diseases. The season’s climate, with temperatures ranging between 28-30 degrees Celsius with high humidity, is conducive to breeding of several types of mosquitoes that cause diseases.
Studies suggest that while heavy rainfall favours mosquito breeding, high temperature along with humidity increases its survival period during the adult phase and hence the disease transmission capacity of each mosquito magnifies several times.
Dengue is an infectious disease caused by any one of four types of dengue virus, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito.
1. Dengue usually starts suddenly with a high fever, rash, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, and muscle and joint pain.
The severity of the joint pain has given dengue the name ‘break bone fever’.
2. Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are common.
A rash usually appears 3 to 4 days after the start of the fever.
3. The illness can last up to 10 days, but complete recovery can take as long as a month.
4. Older children and adults usually get sicker than young children.
5. Most dengue infections result in relatively mild illness, but some can progress to dengue hemorrhagic fever.
6. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is fatal in about 5 percent of cases, mostly among children and young adults.
Never give Aspirin, Dispirin and Brufen tablets to the patient as these are known to increase bleeding tendency and also it increase stomach pain.
It also becomes difficult to detect Dengue in blood tests if the patient has taken these medicines.
As per World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics, “Paracetamol is the first-line treatment for fever and pain in children”. Keep the fever low by taking paracetamol tablets like Crocin.
Give plenty of fluids like water, shikanji etc. to the patient.
Continue with normal diet. In fever, the body, in fact, requires more food.
Allow the patient to rest.
Use insect repellent. If you have dengue fever, mosquitoes that bite you may pass dengue on to other people.
Dos and Don’ts:
Apart from the interiors of the house, keep the surroundings clean.
Regularly clean the places in the house which remain damp –like the basin, kitchen drains, the place where utensils are washed
At the onset of symptoms of dengue like fever, severe headache and muscle pains, paracetamol should be taken and people should consult a doctor.
Water from flower pots should be changed at least once a week. All containers storing water should be covered with a tight lid.
Get air coolers and refrigerators cleaned to dispose of stagnant water.
Water stored in barrels, drums etc should be replaced by fresh stock (at least) once a week.
All large water tanks, like those in buildings, should have single piece cast iron, tight fitting cover. A suitable ladder should be provided to enable civic staff to climb and examine the tanks at frequent intervals.
The overflow pipe should be protected by a net that can keep away mosquitoes.
Discarded container-like objects like tyres, coconut shells, bottles, etc. should be disposed off or destroyed.
Water fountains should be kept dry once a week
Surface wells should be well-maintained so that mosquitoes do not breed in the vicinity.
Rain water collected on terraces/roofs should be cleared (at least) once a week.
Since the mosquito that carries the dengue virus bites in the daytime, avoid being in damp places.
(Dr DN Jha is Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine
Batra Hospital & Medical Research Centre)