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Dengue fever in children

What Is Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is an illness which is caused by a virus that are carried by mosquitoes. The common symptoms are fever, headaches, rashes, body pain and lethargy. In most cases the symptoms are mild and self-limiting, lasting for approximately a week. It is important to ensure that your child stays indoors and avoids being outdoors at dusk and dawn (when mosquitoes are most active). While going out, appropratie clothing with full sleeved shirts or dresses and trousers / leggings is avoided. It is also advisable for your child to wear insect repellent, and use mosquito nets while sleeping.

Dengue fever in child
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Dengue Fever?

The common signs and symptoms of dengue fever include:

  • high grade fever
  • pain behind the eyes and generalized bodyache
  • severe headache
  • red coloured rash over the body
  • mild bleeding from the nose or gums
  • bruising easily
  • loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

How Long Does Dengue Fever Last?

Symptoms can start anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks after the infected mosquito bites the patient, and can last for 2 to 7 days. In most of the cases, symptoms are mild, like fever, but in few cases they could worsen. The Red flag or danger signs for Dengue fever are: Bleeding – from gums / nostril Pin point rashes Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or severe abdominal pain Respiratory problems like difficulty breathing. Lethargy Poor oral intake In severe cases, there could be a rapid drop in blood pressure ing to shock and hypotension. The red flag signs have to be carefully watched for, as they are life-threatening symptoms and need immediate medical care.
a child has become infected with dengue fever, can he/ she still get the infection again?
If a child has suffered from dengue fever, he / she becomes immune to that particular type of the virus, but can still be infected by any of the other three types of virus strains.

Dengue fever in child

How Is Dengue Fever Treated?

As there is no specific treatment for dengue fever as it is a viral illness, management is largely symptomatic and supportive. Children should be advised to take lots of fluids like milk, buttermilk, lassi, coconut water, soups, dals and fruits. This helps in mitigating dehydration, associated headache and helps to maintain the viscosity of blood. As parents, please ensure that your child takes adequate rest and sleep. Symptomatic treatment involves the use of paracetamol for fever, headache and leg cramps. Antiemetics and antacids could be used for vomiting and epigastric pain. Pain relievers with aspirin or ibuprofen should be avoided, as they can make bleeding more likely. In severe cases, hospitalization for intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes (salts) are required to replace those due to diarrhoea or vomiting.

Can Dengue Fever Be Prevented?

As of today, there is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever. The best protection is to prevent bites from infected mosquitoes. Few tips are: To use screens on doors and windows, and promptly repair broken or damaged screens. One should keep all unscreened doors and windows closed.

  • Children should wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, and socks when they go outside, and use mosquito netting over their beds at night.
  • Use insect repellent as directed on kids. Choose one with DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Limit the amount of time kids spend outside during the day, especially in the hours around dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Don't give mosquitoes places to breed. They lay their eggs in water, so get rid of standing water in things like containers and discarded tires, and be sure to change the water in birdbaths, dog bowls, and flower vases at least once a week.

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