Fevers: What is Dengue, Causes and Prevention
Every year during this season dengue emerges as one of the most troubling health problems, particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR). According to data from the Health Ministry, nearly 16,000 cases of dengue have been recorded so far this year, almost double compared to the corresponding months last year.
Dengue is caused by the bite of an infected mosquito called Aedes egypti, a day biter and fresh water breeder.
This mosquito breeds in water collections in ornamental pots in houses, indoor money plant containers, open water storage tanks, overhead tanks, which are not fully covered, ongoing construction sites, broken pots, discarded cups etc. Ornamental pots should be drained out every week, overhead tanks shut tightly and indoor water storage tanks should be tightly shut to prevent breeding. It is also important to know how to spot the symptoms of the disease and take remedial measures immediately so as to prevent it from turning fatal.
Do’s and Don't s for prevention against Dengue
Prevention of dengue can be at 2 levels:
Personal level: Do not wear short sleeves and shorts during the monsoon. Use mosquito repellant creams or nets at home. Ensure there is no source of mosquito breeding in and around your home or work place.
Community level: Don't let water stagnate in containers, coolers, tyres and broken pots etc. A half broken tender coconut randomly discarded is also a very good breeding ground.
What to do
Normally, the monsoon season brings with it several kinds of viral infections and fevers. Most of them are largely harmless and abate after a week or so. However, the fever might well indicate dengue in some cases and it is important to always be on your guard against it. So, in case a fever continues for more than three days with rashes on the body and intense headaches, make sure to consult a doctor.
If detected with dengue
• Do not take it lightly, follow the doctor’s advice
• Take medicines only prescribed by a doctor
• Drink plenty of fluids
• Take complete rest
• In case you are vomiting, have dizziness, are sick, get hospitalised. In some cases blood transfusions may be needed.
Do-it-yourself activities to prevent dengue
Simply follow a rule not to let mosquitoes breed in your home or locality.
Suggestions to readers on the subject
Prevention is the best way to be safe. And if you are infected, relax, and see a doctor. Only less than 1 per cent of cases have complications, if proper care is given.
*Data Courtesy: Dr Satish Koul, General Physician, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon