Dengue Fever in Pakistan: A wild epidemic. This is what dengue fever developed into a few years ago. People were getting sick; it was a state of chaos for the entire nation. Since then, we got to understand just how dangerous it can be. Even though the chances of complication were not extremely high, Pakistan lost many lives to the virus. The mosquito-borne tropical disease has five different types, one of those types provides lifelong immunity to it while others provide only a short-term one. Moreover, if a person was previously infected with one type of the virus, another infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications.
According to healthcare experts at emeds Pharmacy, it is better to take preventive steps, especially in the monsoon weather to avoid this disease.
The fever symptoms appear between 1-2 weeks of infection and may generally include vomiting, high fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, and a characteristic skin rash. Mild cases usually subside in about 2-7 days, but some cases can develop into severe fevers leading to further complications, indicated by many serious symptoms.
Dengue Fever in Pakistan Risk Factors
There are a few factors that increase the risk of people contracting the infection or even developing a severe version of it:
- You had dengue fever in the past. Prior infections with a dengue virus raise your danger of developing severe symptoms if contracted once again.
- You live in or travel to tropical areas. Tropical areas or those that generally have more trees have a higher number of mosquitoes. Being in these areas puts you at a heightened risk of exposure to the virus causing dengue fever.
Signs and Symptoms
People with dengue fever virus often appear to be asymptomatic or show mild symptoms. That mild severity can lead to people downplaying their symptoms and being diagnosed with another mild viral infection such as flu. Children usually have mild cases with symptoms of the common cold, vomiting, diarrhea compared to older people but have relatively higher chances of developing the severe version of the disease.
Severe cases of dengue fever can include symptoms such as bleeding from the gums, liver enlargement, a very high fever. The symptoms of the virus are listed below in detail with their respective severities:
Mild Dengue fever
- Mild to severe vomiting and nausea
- Aching muscles, bones, and joints
- Recurring body rash, occurring first after 2-5 days after infection
- High fever occurs suddenly
- Severe headache
- Swollen lymph glands
- Pain behind the eyes
- Mild bruising
These symptoms usually disappear after the first week.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever
The symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever gradually develop from mild intensity; they worsen within a few days. If not treated promptly, it can be fatal. People with this fever may experience:
- Damage to lymph and blood vessels
- Slight bleeding from gums, nose, and mouth
- Black feces, vomit, or stools caused by internal bleeding
- Sweaty and clammy skin
- A lower number of platelets in the blood
- Sensitive stomach
- Weak pulse
- Small blood spots under the skin
Dengue Shock syndrome
This is a severe form of dengue and can be fatal. Along with mild symptoms, a person suffering from dengue shock syndrome can experience:
- Intensified stomach pain
- Severe bleeding
- Constant vomiting
- Sudden hypotension, or a sharp decline in blood pressure
- Fluid leakage from blood vessels
With the severe form of dengue fever, the body losses a large number of platelets – the clot-forming, blood-thickening cells – due to which the bleeding becomes profound. This can also lead to internal bleeding, shock, and even organ failure. The warning signs of developing these severe forms can begin to show around a couple of days after the fever subsides and can develop quickly.
These symptoms of severe dengue fever pose a life-threatening health emergency, and people should seek immediate medical attention with the development of the warning signs.
Provide vaccinations in areas with frequent outbreaks of dengue fever virus to people aged 9-45 with a history of at least one infection with any of the types mentioned above of the virus. The vaccine is administered in the course of three doses over a period of one year. As for the people who haven’t ever contracted the disease, the vaccine does not prevent infection and can increase the risk of developing complications in case of future infection.
Prevent mosquito bites
Keeping in mind the information we have on the vaccine, the World Health Organization believes and stresses that the vaccine alone is not an adequate tool to diminish dengue fever in areas that experience repeated surges. The primary methods of curbing the fever still remain to be preventing exposure to mosquito bites and controlling their population.
As an individual, try following the preventive measures that can be effective:
- Don’t forget to use mosquito repellents: Permethrin, a chemical effective in keeping mosquitoes away, is easily applicable to your shoes, clothes, bags, beds, etc., but doctors advise against using it on your skin directly. For that concern, you can use a repellent containing at least a 10% concentration of DEET, one of the most common ingredients in insect repellents.
- Wearing protective clothing is important: Do not target to wear clothes that reduce your chances of falling prey to those irritating (and may be fatal, in this case) mosquito bites. Long sleeves, full pants, and proper socks are your saviors when you visit the areas known as mosquito-infested.
- Stay indoors: Try staying indoors around the times mosquitoes are most active. While they fly around all day long, they mostly attack during later hours of the day and also at night.
- Reducing mosquito habitat: The mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever usually reside in and around houses. Yes, I know. Very irritating. But they breed in standing water that collects in things such as used automobile tires without anyone even knowing. If you want to reduce the chances of these mosquitoes flying around your house, try limiting these sites where they lay their eggs.