National Dengue Day is observed on May 16 to make people aware of the vector-borne disease and to use all kinds of preventive measures to control the disease from spreading in the country.
“According to National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme statistics, the number of dengue cases reported in Tamil Nadu in 2018 was 3,636, of the 89,974 cases countrywide,” says Dr R Ganesh, Senior Consultant (General Paediatrics and Paediatric Metabolic Disorders), Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Chennai.
“Dengue fever is caused by a virus transmitted to an individual from the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito. Some common symptoms of dengue are high fever, a severe headache and body pain, along with rashes and vomiting. At present, there are no vaccines or specific preventive treatment. The saying, ‘Prevention is better than cure’, is the best way to keep dengue at bay. If you think you, or anyone in your family, has been infected with dengue, you should seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity, take rest and drink plenty of fluids.
You can take paracetamol tablets to bring down the high fever and reduce joint pains. Aspirin, ibuprofen, mefenamic acid, or steroids should not be taken, because they can increase the risk of bleeding. Patients with warning signs, or severe dengue need to be admitted to hospital and treated with appropriate intravenous fluids and other medications by a medical practitioner. However, personal protection and keeping your environment clean are some of the most important things to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes and mosquito bites, which lead to the dangerous disease,” he adds.
The dengue virus spreads through the bites of the female Aedes mosquito (Aedes aegypti) carrying any of the four variants of the disease. These mosquitoes bite during the daytime, but the virus manifests itself after 3-14 days of incubation. An infected person can transmit the virus to other people through more mosquito bites near the affected area. So, it is extremely important to follow all kinds of precautionary measures to avoid getting infected.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dengue has shown a 30-fold increase globally over the past five decades. Around 50-100 million new infections are reported annually in over 100 countries that the disease is prevalent in. Every year, hundreds of thousands of severe cases arise, resulting in 20,000 deaths.
Symptoms of dengue:
- High fever
- Severe headache
- Body pain with rashes
- Try to avoid mosquito bites
- Avoid exposing skin as much as possible
- Use mosquito repellents available in the market, but be careful while using them on children
- Use mosquito screens and nets
- Keep the inside and outside of your home clean. Segregate dry and wet garbage and always keep the wet garbage covered. This will prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your area
- Do not keep stored water in the open since dengue mosquitoes lay eggs in clean and stagnant water. Clear all stagnant water around your home. Containers, buckets, water-tanks, coolers and so on should be cleaned regularly.