Some years ago, we learned that the young daughter of an acquaintance died of Dengue. Having children of my own, I got scared because of it and so whenever my kids get a fever, I’d always ask the pedia, “Could it be Dengue? Don’t we have to test for it? When are we going to do a blood test?“
Talk about being paranoid, huh?
Anyway, last July 12, 2016 I was invited to attend a very informative talk about Dengue and all the concerns about it. I am so glad that I went because it has answered all my questions about the dreaded infection. I’ll be sharing them with you here, of course!
1. Dengue is contracted when one is bitten by an infected female Aedes Mosquito. If you will look at it under a microscope, this kind of mosquito is the one with striped legs. One can only get Dengue when he is bitten by this kind of mosquito and not by coming into contact with one who has Dengue Fever.
2. There are 4 Strains of the Dengue Virus. If you have gotten Dengue, it only makes you immune to that particular virus for your lifetime. You are still not immune to the other 3 however. The good news is that the new Dengue vaccine that is available is a tetravalent kind and makes you immune to the 4 strains of the virus.
3. Aedes Mosquitoes are Day Biters. These mosquitoes bite all day long, with their peak biting at 2 hours after sunrise and 2 hours before sunset. They favor moving subjects, which make active kids likely targets.
4. Prevention of Dengue is Better than Cure. Here are some steps to avoid Dengue:
- Remove all Potential Breeding Places of Mosquitoes
- Clean or change water in planters
- Clean or put holes on tires so that they do not accumulate water
- Clean or throw away trees that have fallen
- Clean the gutters
- Clean or throw away used tarpaulins or plastic
- Basins must be overturned
- Cover water storage containers/drums
- Make sure you have fishes in aquariums/grotto ponds
- Avoid Mosquito Bites
- Wear pants, long sleeves, socks, shoes
- Use mosquito nets
- May apply mosquito repellants/patches
5. Symptoms of Dengue
- High continuous fever that lasts for 2-7 days
- Hemorrhagic manifestations such as bleeding of the nose or gums
- Skin Rashes
- Loss of Appetite
6. There is no Medicine to treat Dengue. Only the symptoms are managed. These are what we can do at home:
- Get enough bed rest
- Take plenty of fluids
- Use lukewarm sponge baths
- Give Paracetamol (like Calpol) for fever, as recommended by the WHO. Avoid Aspirin of Ibuprofen as these may aggravate gastritis of bleeding in dengue fever.
7. Go to the doctor if:
- Fever lasts for more than 2 days
- Fever is associated with any of the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Poor appetite
8. There is no Need to be Hospitalized for Dengue. Once the doctor has assessed the patient, he/she may be sent home as the symptoms can be managed at home. Do visit the doctor daily however until the temperature is normal again.
9. Severe Dengue is Life Threatening. Severe dengue infection on the other hand, is life threatening and requires immediate medical attention, as the first 24-48 hours after severe symptoms emerge are critical to avoid complications. These are the warning signs of Severe Dengue:
- Severe abdominal Pain
- Bleeding Nose and Gums
- Persistent Vomiting with/without blood
- Drowsiness, confusion, seizures
- Difficulty Breathing
- Pallor, Cold/Clammy Hands or Feet
10. We have Allies Against Dengue.
GSK Consumer Healthcare Philippines has partnered with the Department of Health (DOH), Mercury Drug Corporation, CNN Philippines, and Smart Parenting.com.ph in a collective effort to be Allied Against Dengue.
Being an ally means you pledge to protect your family, to be proactive in the fight against Dengue, and to extend this vigilance to the entire community. This effort includes distribution of Dengue primers in public schools and health centers. This also includes the education of proper Dengue fever management, among others.
Calpol mom, Jolina Magdangal-Escueta pinning the allied against dengue (AAD) badge.
Health and medical experts answer questions in the open forum. L-R: DOH Undersecretary Dr. Enrique Tayag, Philippine Pediatric Society Vice President Dra. Salvacion Gatchalian, DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau Director Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, GlaxoSmithKline General Manager Heather Pelier, and Calpol mom Jolina Magdangal Escueta.
Knowing is half the battle.
I choose to be a proud ally against dengue by sharing what I’ve learned. You should too!