What is it?
It is a viral infection transmitted by the bites of female Aedes moquitos which have recently fed on an dengue-infected person. Symptoms can appear 3–14 days after such a bite (3–7 days on average). It cannot be transmitted directly from person-to person.
If you suspect bubs may be infected, watch out for:
- A mild to “alarmingly high” fever
- Severe headaches
- Pain behind the eyes
- Muscle and joint pain
SmartParents spoke to GP Dr Jason Yap Soo Kor about measures that can be taken while you’re waiting to bring the little one to your doctor. Dr Yap suggests, for mild cases, make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, gets lots of rest, and takes age-appropriate paracetamol to relieve the fever and pain.
Severe dengue (dengue haemorrhagic fever) symptoms include:
- High fevers
- Abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Breathing difficulties
Dr Yap suggests avoiding taking medicines with aspirin or ibuprofen, which can make bleeding more likely. It is important to call a doctor or go to the A&E if symptoms are severe or get worse in the first day or two after the fever goes away. Dengue hemorrhagic fever requires treatment in a hospital with intravenous (IV) fluids and close monitoring.
The World Health Organisation has stated that there are no vaccines or any specific medicine to treat dengue. Fevers can be reduced with paracetamol and plenty of fluid is recommended otherwise.
If it is impossible to keep your kids from going outdoors, Dr Yap advises parents to limit the amount of time they spend outside during the day, especially in the hours around dusk and early evening when mosquitoes are most active.
Children can also wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks when they go outside. Use mosquito repellent. Permethrin can be applied to the clothing and shoes. Choose a repellant with DEET (chemical name N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) or oil of lemon eucalyptus (get the insect repellent version, not just a “pure” one).