Combating dengue fever

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Early diagnosis and treatment of dengue fever is critical because when the epidemic spreads and its frequency increases, it is hard to combat it. Once the prevention of dengue fever is unsuccessful, particularly in the rainy season, emphasis should be put on early diagnosis and its treatment. It is easy to treat a patient during the early stage because he has a sufficient quantity of platelets and immunity at that time.

The time between the bite by a mosquito carrying dengue virus and the start of symptoms averages four to six days, with a range of three to 14 days. An infected person cannot spread the infection to other persons but can be a source of dengue virus for mosquitoes for about six days. The virus mainly affects platelet production system. The platelet count for a normal person varies from 150,000 to 250,000 per unit volume.

On getting infected, the patient’s platelet count starts falling. The platelet count below 100,000 volume is alarming, and immediate medical attention is required. The platelet count below 50,000 is fatal.

Always use oral fluids if the patient is able to drink. Left untreated or delay in treatment, patients may experience haemorrhage and shock, leading to death. For severe dengue fever, symptoms are shock and a coma, early and aggressive emergency treatment with fluid and electrolytes replacement can be life-saving. Prevention includes spraying houses and workplaces with mosquito repellent, insecticides and removing any stagnant water or dirt from your house or workplace because mosquitoes breed heavily in standing water. No doubt prevention is hard in the rainy season but precautions can be taken such as keeping your body covered by wearing of full sleeves shirt, socks and shoes.

SANA ASAD

Karachi