During rainy season or wet season, mosquitoes are one of the most feared vectors in our community. The reason behind is that they carry deadly strain of diseases that can threaten the lives of the society. Although they are little creatures, they are potentially harmful enough to wipe out the entire population in just one bite. When you are targeted by these small creatures, be sure to protect yourself from repellent sprays or lotions in order to protect you from any kind of harm.

Dengue Fever is a vector-borne disease. This is a tropical-borne-disease that is commonly found in the equatorial regions around the world. The disease is caused by dengue virus and it usually shows signs and symptoms at least 12 to 14 days after the initial exposure to the virus. The recovery period of the disease usually takes at least two to seven days. If the disease is left untreated, it can progress into a life-threatening disease such as dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Petechial rash on hands is a classic sign of dengue fever
Dengue fever is spread by one known species of mosquito, which is the Aedes Aegypti type. This mosquito is more active during daytime between 8 in the morning up to 4 in the afternoon. Patients are usually prone to contracting the disease during these times of the day, making them susceptible to complications. This is especially when they are exposed to different types of strains that could affect their immune system and overall health.

How dengue fever is contracted? Dengue fever is transmitted when a mosquito bites an infected person and becomes a carrier of the virus. The mosquito transfers the virus when they start biting uninfected individuals. This is when the disease starts to spread from one community to other community. For as long as there is a vector, the whole family, neighborhood, and the whole community is exposed to the disease.

Dengue fever is sometimes neglected because lack of education or information dissemination will allow an individual to ignore the danger signs of infection. Patients will soon realize that they are exhibiting the disease when they are already suffering from the signs and symptoms. Mortality rates are sometimes high in communities who have lesser access to health care services such as availability of hospital facilities and health care personnel. This is a dilemma for communities who are less fortunate to be given with immediate access to health care.

Signs and symptoms of the disease

  • Pain in muscles as well as in some joint areas. 
  • Chills and fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Petechiae or generalized rash
  • Itching
Developmental stages
  • The disease is asymptomatic at 1 to 2 weeks of post infection or bitten by an infected vector (incubation stage. 
  • First chills takes place at least 2 to 3 days accompanied by muscle pain and fever.
  • First minimal rash starts at the trunk or at the arms then disappears. 
  • After 4 to 5 days, fever and chills subsides. 
  • Second rash starts to appear at the sole of the feet and at the palms. 
  • Rash spreads through the lower and upper extremities with burning and itching sensation for 3 to 5 days. 
  • Abdominal pain starts to be felt by the patient. 
  • After 10 to 14 days, patient will recover from the disease. 
  • However, if the patient enters the critical phase, they will experience from hypotension, pleural effusion, ascites, and gastrointestinal bleeding. 
Diagnostic testing
  • CBC to determine the number of platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. 
  • Dengue virus testing.
  • Primary dengue infection indicates that IGM is positive. Secondary infection is qhen IgG is positive. 
Treatment of the disease
  • Please be reminded that there is still no cure for dengue virus. However, there is a vaccine released in the market that is not available to all communities. 
  • Dengue virus is self-limiting, meaning, it can heal itself within two weeks with uncomplicated cases. 
  • Patients should seek medical attention to the nearest hospital or clinics.
  • Plain fluid electrolyte dextrose is administered via intravenous route to re-hydrate the patient. 
  • Paracetamol for pain and fever.
  • Anti-histamine indicated for the petechial rash.
  • Anti-infectives for bacterial infection.
  • Vitamin K to prevent platelet depletion.
  • Euphorbia hirta plant or "tawa-tawa" is a herbal medicine plant that can be boiled and drunk by patient to increase platelet and treat respiratory symptoms. 
  • Malunggay or moringa oleifera is rich in vitamin K, A, E, and B-complex that can fasten platelet recovery. 
  • Eating foods high in folate (Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, and lime) could boost your platelet count. 
  • Drink at least 3-4 liters of Gatorade. Oral rehydration salts is cheaper to replenish your body's hydration status. 
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system. 
  • Eat foods that are high in protein (Liver, fish, fish oil, beans, red meat).
  • Watch out for signs of bleeding. 
  • Regularly spray your surroundings with insecticide spray. 
  • Remove all stagnant water (draining vase, water-filled tires, draining flooded canals).
  • Cover all drums and other water container to prevent breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
  • Use mosquito rejecting plants such as citronella, basil, rose, and dama de noche plants. 
  • Cover your doors and windows with insect screens. 
  • Wear long-sleeves and pants at all times.
  • Use mosquito nets at home.
  • Eat foods high in vitamin B-complex because it releases fungi-smelling odor that drives away mosquitoes. 
  • Make your home neat and prevent any hanging objects for the mosquitoes to hang on. 

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