Tuesday, May 30, 2023

With nearly 1,000 cases registered in Maharashtra in May alone, it’s evident that dengue knows no age boundaries, affecting children and adults alike. Each week, we witness 4-5 cases where children suffer severe complications from this fever, experiencing symptoms like high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, rash, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. Very few need hospitalisation or intensive care.  Platelet and blood transfusions may be rarely required.    We also emphasize the importance of ample rest and fluid intake, while cautioning against medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Instead, paracetamol can be used for fever and pain relief.

Danger signs include severe abdominal pain, dizziness,  swelling persistent vomiting and any bleeding. Prevention plays a pivotal role, on National Dengue Day, we urge us to be mindful of Aedes mosquitoes’ daytime activity, especially during early mornings and late afternoons. Let’s encourage children to stay indoors during these periods, particularly in dengue-prone areas. Together, we can combat dengue and safeguard our young ones.

Dengue Day is celebrated on the 16th of May every year to raise awareness about dengue in India. Dengue incidences have risen exponentially globally, and in India, too, dengue occurs especially in the rainy season, causing upheavals in the social sector.  Karnataka recorded over 8972 cases and 9 deaths due to dengue in 2022 alone which is a significant rise from the year 2021. Certain areas within the state of Karnataka such as Chikkaballapur, Chitradurga, Udupi, Vijayapura, Bengaluru have reported high incidence of dengue cases. Taking into account the huge impact of dengue it is prudent to understand the presenting features and measures to control it.
The presenting features of dengue such as fever, body pain, joint pain, reddish patchy rashes are common findings. In severe cases, yellow colour of the eyes( jaundice), breathing problem, bleeding from nose mouth or urine or drowsiness may be seen.  If such symptoms are present, then it is advised to immediately seek medical help.

Early clinical diagnosis and proper clinical management lower the fatality rates below 1%. The mainstay of dengue management is adequate hydration hence the patients should be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids and bed rest.

Dengue is spread by the bite of mosquito hence preventing the bite is the most effective measure. The financial burden on the patient and the burden on the healthcare facility can be significantly reduced and the resources can be utilised efficiently when the preventive measures are practiced effectively.
During transmission season (mostly rainy season), some preventive measures to be followed at home are to avoid stagnation of water in coolers and vases, using mosquito nets while sleeping at night, mosquito repellent spraying, keeping windows closed during evening.  

Precautionary measures should be taken to prevent mosquito bites while stepping outside the home. All persons should wear clothes covering arms and legs and remain away from potentially risky areas such as water-logged regions. Use of mosquito repellent creams over exposed areas.

Accurate knowledge about dengue and following the preventive measures diligently can significantly help reduce the cases and prevent deaths.