Patient advisory - dengue fever
Dengue Fever cases presenting to ADK are on the rise over the past few weeks. While majority of theses cases are mild, we have recently had a few cases of severe Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome. Dengue treatment is well established in the Maldives and a vast majority of cases are treated safely and recover fully.
Dengue cases increase during this time of the year and we expect case number to increase this year as well. Especially, since statistics show that a peak in dengue occurs every three years, this year represents the third year since the last peak in the disease. Prevention of Dengue is possible through control of mosquito population and preventing mosquito bite. Every household must contribute to elimination of mosquito breeding sites.
During this period (Dengue Peak-season), in particular, if any person has fever for more than 2-3 days, medical attention must be sought. Early identification of severe forms of Dengue Fever is vital for effective treatment and positive treatment outcome.
Use of fever reducing medications other than Paracetamol (various brands of which exist) could be potentially harmful as they increase the likelihood of complications such as bleeding and liver failure.
Staying well hydrated using various types of electrolyte rich fluids (ORS, plain coconut water, juices) is important in managing Dengue during period of fever. Use of Dark colored fluids (chocolate drinks, red-colored juices) can cause confusion by altering color of vomitus. Detection of blood in vomitus is an important sign that signifies severe disease.
If patient becomes more weak, has abdominal pain, starts having severe vomiting, bleeding from any site (nose, mouth, into the urine, into the stools or into the skin as bruises or bleeding spots) and has cold, sweaty hands & feet especially as the fever is going down, then urgent medical attention is necessary. These are warning signs of a possible severe Dengue infection. Timely intervention in severe Dengue infection is important to prevent/reverse shock and prevent damage to vital internal organs. Once damage to vital organs occur, treatment becomes difficult and the chances of recovery rapidly decline.
One cannot over emphasize the role of mosquito control in prevention of Dengue Infection. Everyone must play their part in preventing this potentially deadly disease.