Dengue fever, also called breakbone fever, is an infection disease transmitted mostly by mosquitos. Someone with dengue fever experiences a variety of symptoms, most of which are headaches and fever. Most cases of dengue fever are treatable but occasionally the fever can be life-threatening, in a condition called dengue hemorrhagic fever which includes blood plasma leakage, dengue shock syndrome, and bleeding.
Causes of Dengue Fever
There are four related viruses that may cause dengue fever which are found in sub tropic and tropic regions in the world. Dengue fever is spread by a bite from mosquitoes that exist in these areas of the world. This includes south and Central America, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, some parts of the Caribbean, and Indonesian archipelago into northeastern Australia. People who live in these parts of the world or travel to these parts of the world are at the highest risk for dengue fever. It is not contagious so someone diagnosed with the fever has had exposure to these mosquitoes.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
A variety of symptoms exist for someone who has dengue fever. They usually start with a high fever that comes on suddenly and can be between 104 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The high fever will usually come on about 4 to 7 days following the infection. About 205 after the high fever starts, they will experience a first rash that is flat and red and covers most of their body. This is followed by a rash looking like the measles. Other symptoms of dengue fever are fatigue, headaches, joint and muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and vomiting.
Diagnosing and Treating Dengue Fever
To start with, a doctor will perform a physical examination. Dengue fever shows signs and symptoms that will usually inform the doctor of the fever early on. Additional testing done to diagnose dengue fever is an antibody titer to determine the type of dengue fever, a complete blood count, or a polymerase chain reaction test which also finds out what type of dengue virus it is. No specific treatments are done on everyone who has dengue fever. Generally the side effects are treated, such as replacing fluid for those with severe dehydration, or giving them Acetaminophen for a fever. In most individuals, dengue fever will last at least a week but possibly longer. It is uncomfortable but will disappear in time.
Complications and Prevention
There are some complications of dengue fever if it goes untreated which include severe hydration and febrile convulsions. If you want to prevent dengue fever while traveling in areas where mosquitoes frequent, you should remember to wear long sleeves and pants while traveling in other country and spray yourself with a mosquito repellent.