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    All you need to know about dengue fever: Symptoms, treatments, preventions, facts and more

    Team ParentCircle Team ParentCircle 5 Mins Read

    Team ParentCircle Team ParentCircle


    Written by Team ParentCircle and published on 24 June 2021.

    Dengue fever is becoming common in children. However, most parents do not recognize its warning signs and symptoms. Here's what you should know about dengue fever prevention and treatment

    Toddler to 18+
    All you need to know about dengue fever: Symptoms, treatments, preventions, facts and more

    Dengue fever in children is usually on the rise during the monsoon. According to data from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP) and National Health Profile 2018, there has been an alarming increase in dengue in children. From less than 60,000 cases in 2009, the number of dengue patients has risen to 188,401 in 2017.

    While governments are doing their best to control the spread of dengue, what can we do to safeguard ourselves and protect our children from this life-threatening disease?

    To begin with, we should develop awareness about dengue fever symptoms, its causes, symptoms, warning signs and treatment.

    What is dengue?

    Dengue is one of the few deadliest mosquito-borne diseases in India. It is caused by the dengue virus. The female Aedes aegypti mosquito, which breeds in stagnant water, transmits the disease from one infected person to another. This mosquito species has earned the name tiger mosquitoes due to the stripes pattern on their abdomen. They live in warm, humid climatic conditions and breed in stagnant water. So, monsoon is the time when the incidence of dengue increases.

    How does it spread?

    The cause of dengue is not the female Aedes aegypti mosquito but the dengue virus. The mosquito only acts as a carrier by transferring the virus from the infected individual to others. Children, especially those with low immunity, are at significant risk of dengue infection.

    Pediatrician and founder of The Pediatric Network, Dr Atish Laddad, describes the symptoms parents should look for when they suspect their child to have dengue. He also speaks about dengue prevention and treatment methods.

    How to Protect Your Child From Dengue Fever

    Dengue symptoms in children

    Usually, children with dengue do not show any unique symptoms. However, younger children show severe symptoms. Dengue fever symptoms show up 6 to 7 days after the infection and last for 3 to 10 days. Some of the symptoms of dengue fever in children are:

    • Sudden rise in temperature
    • Severe headache
    • Nausea
    • Skin rash
    • Muscle pain
    • Cranky behavior
    • Pain behind eyes
    • Bone pain (dengue was also called backbone fever because of the pain that felt like a broken bone)
    • Bleeding from gums or nose (this is due to the drop in the blood platelet count)

    In some cases, dengue can become more severe, leading to Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome. The symptoms of these are:

    • Fall in blood pressure
    • Shock due to bleeding
    • Organ failure
    • Excess blood loss due to tears in blood vessels

    Note: Take your child to a medical practitioner on noticing any of these symptoms.

    Dengue treatment for children

    It is important to remember that there is no specific medicine or cure for dengue. The only solution is to treat the symptoms. These include:

    • Consuming plenty of fluids like oral rehydration solution, fresh juice, soups and coconut water. This prevents dehydration caused by vomiting and high fever.
    • Avoid aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. As the risk of bleeding complications increases due to these drugs.
    • Sponging with lukewarm water is advised to bring down the fever.
    • Taking bed rest and eating healthy meals.

    Symptoms of dengue requiring emergency admission

    Admit your child to a hospital if he does not respond to home remedies or goes into shock or shows unstable vital signs such as:

    • Bleeding from nose or gums, or from any other site
    • Red or purple spots on the skin
    • Black or bloody stools, nausea or vomiting
    • Severe abdominal pain accompanied by frequent vomiting
    • Breathlessness, lethargy, drowsiness, confusion or seizures
    • Pale, cold or clammy hands and feet

    Treatment of severe dengue fever

    If the warning signs are ignored and dengue treatment is delayed, your child's condition may turn serious. This usually happens about 3 to 7 days from the onset of symptoms. Treatment when hospitalized comprises the following:

    • If platelet count decreases, platelet transfusion is recommended
    • If the child goes into a shock or is very ill, oxygen support is started
    • Suppositories are used to lower fever and reduce pain
    • Intravenous (IV) fluid and electrolyte replacement is begun to manage fluid loss, prevent dehydration and maintain blood pressure
    • Blood transfusion may be required to replace blood loss

    Dengue fever prevention for babies

    Here's what you can do to protect your child from this deadly disease:

    • Dengue can be prevented just by avoiding mosquito bites.
    • Ensure your child is clothed in full pants and long-sleeved shirts.
    • Mosquitoes thrive in stagnant water. So, remove stagnant water lying around your house to prevent the mosquitoes from breeding.
    • Rid your surroundings of things where water can collect and mosquitoes can breed, including old tires, unused buckets, empty flower pots, coconut shells and so on
    • Pour a little kerosene in stagnant water. Kerosene prevents oxygen from entering the water, thus stopping the mosquitoes from breeding. This also kills any eggs hatched under the water.
    • Apply mosquito repellent creams.
    • Use anti-mosquito spray at home.
    • Use protective nets on windows to keep out mosquitoes.
    • Prevent mosquitoes from entering your house, by keeping the windows closed at dawn and dusk (active Aedes mosquito times).
    • Keep areas under the cot, within closets, behind curtains and in bathrooms clean as the dengue-causing mosquitoes inhabit dark, cool places.
    • Have your house fumigated by pest control.

    Timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial factors in the recovery from the disease. Ensure you follow these preventive measures and spread the word in your community so that the young and old alike are safeguarded from this disease.


    Simi Ramesh Sep 26 2019

    Thank you for this timely article. With rain and diseases on the rise , this write up is a boon .I hope all read this and take precautions to prevent dengue.

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