Dengue fever: Causes, signs and symptoms
Dengue fever is caused by a virus and is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.
Signs and symptoms of dengue usually appear 4-7 days after bitten by an infected mosquito and may include the following:
- High fever
- Severe headache
- Joint pain
- Muscle and bone pain
- Skin rash
- Pain behind the eyes
- Swollen glands
- Mild bleeding
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for dengue yet, but taking precautionary measures can help you and your loved ones avoid getting dengue. With no effective medications available to treat dengue, taking steps to prevent dengue is the most crucial at this point, and prevention means avoiding mosquito bites.
Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your family from dengue:
- Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin – do not apply it on wounds, cuts or irritated skin.
- Wear protective clothing, such as, long sleeved shirts, pants and socks to avoid mosquito bites.
- Always use a mosquito net while sleeping – nets treated with insecticide are more effective as it will repel insects from entering it.
- Empty and clean containers, flower vases, animal dishes regularly to reduce mosquito habitat. These items can form good breeding places for mosquitoes, putting you at an increased risk of dengue fever or malaria. Also, make sure that empty flower pots are covered or turned upside down.
- Seal openings in windows and doors, ensuring that mosquitoes and other insects don’t get in to your house through the ventilation
- If possible, stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing.
- It is said that planting basil or ‘tulsi’ near your doors and windows can help keep mosquitoes at bay. Also, lighting camphor in a room with all doors and windows closed and leaving it for about 20-30 minutes can keep mosquitos outside your house.
If someone in your house is suffering from dengue, take extra precautions to prevent mosquitoes from biting the patient and going on to bite others in the household.
Since dengue is a preventable disease, taking necessary measures to keep yourself and your family safer is the important step.