Defeating - Deadly - Dengue | Daily News

Defeating - Deadly - Dengue

According to epidemiologists, the number of dengue patients has seen a drastic increase with over 8,000 dengue patients reported within the last month (January). The entire country needs to be vigilant on any type of fever because it can be dengue.

According to the Consultant Community Physician attached to the National Dengue Control Unit, Dr. Anoja Dheerasinghe, if anyone suffers from fever these days he/she should consult a doctor or visit the nearest hospital within 48 hours and get a Dengue Antigen test done but pregnant mothers need to consult their doctors or visit a hospital without waiting further delay. They need to seek prompt medical attention because the possibility of developing various complications is high in them.

Dr. Dheerasinghe pointed out that taking the Dengue Antigen test within the first 12 hours from the onset of fever is not that helpful because there is a chance that the dengue virus may not be indicated in the blood test. Therefore, the Dengue Antigen test needs to be done within the first 48 hours (counted after the first 12 hours of the onset of fever).

Dengue patients need to seek medical treatment without delay in order to avoid complications such as developing Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) and Dengue Shock Syndrome etc.

Dr. Dheerasinghe stressed that individuals who suffer from dengue for the second, third, fourth times have a higher chance of developing Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) than the individuals who get infected for the first time but such instances are not common and the percentage of such patients are very low.

A person can get infected with dengue four times during his/her lifetime because there are four different types of dengue. Each type gives lifelong immunity only for that specific type. Sometimes some individuals can be asymptomatic when they get infected with the dengue virus and therefore without knowing that he/she got infected with dengue in the past, they can get infected with another type of dengue and then it is the second time.

But the individual thinks it is his/her first time because he/she did not know that he/she suffered from dengue once in the past without any symptoms, she said.

The number of dengue cases reported is extremely high and over 8,000 dengue cases had been reported last month (January), 50% of cases were reported from the Western Province, 21% from Colombo and Gampaha Districts and 6% from Kalutara District. The mortality has come down to around 0.09 per the total number of dengue patients. The mortality rate has come down as a result of improvement of medical treatment, hospital care and training provided to the medical staff, she said.

Construction sites are one of the most popular dengue mosquito breeding sites. Schools, religious places, public places, State owned institutions etc. are also important when it comes to preventing dengue mosquito breeding. Those places need to be cleaned regularly at least once a week and kept clean without any dengue mosquito breeding sites, she added.

Preventing Dengue

* People can protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves / fully covered dresses during day time.

* Mosquito repellents (the mosquito repellent should be applied on the skin and repeated after four or five hours.

* The most popular mosquito repellent is Citronella oil. It can be applied by mixing with 50 percent of coconut oil or something similar in order to reduce its mild burning sensation.

* Adults can apply both natural and artificial mosquito repellents.

* Mosquito repellents are not suitable for infants below the age of two years.

* Natural mosquito repellents should be used for children between two and five years.

* Mosquito nets should be used by all while sleeping both day and night.

* House screening (windows and doors) using nets or similar material to prevent entry of mosquitoes.

* Keeping bedrooms, kitchen and toilets well-lit, ventilated and airy to prevent hiding of adult female mosquitoes inside houses.

* Special attention should be paid to destroying and cleaning (rubbing them is a must) all possible dengue mosquito breeding sites which hold water such as gutters, water tanks, refrigerator trays, commodes and its water tank regularly (at least once a week).

* All plants in the bromeliad family, cut bamboo trees, tree holes etc. should be removed or filled with sand. Wells should be used daily or otherwise they should be covered with a net or similar material preventing the entry of mosquitoes.

* All flower vases with water, ant traps, small ponds etc. should be removed from homes.

* Garbage, especially used food containers, tyres, etc. should be removed from gardens. Even a tiny pen clip which holds water is adequate for dengue mosquitoes to breed. Cleaning should be done regularly (at least once a week).

* Since dengue mosquitoes cannot fly a kilometre or two, people should pay attention to keeping their homes and surroundings free of mosquito breeding sites.

* Dengue mosquitoes fly around 500 metres. Dengue larvae can survive in a dry environment for a period of one year. Even after one year these larvae can produce dengue mosquitoes when they receive water.

If a person suffer from fever

* All who suffer from fever should seek medical treatment from a hospital or a qualified doctor without any delay.

* Pregnant mothers, infants, elderly and people who suffer from chronic diseases should seek immediate medical treatment for fever without any delay.

* Home remedies should not apply for any type of fever without seeking medical treatment from a qualified doctor or a hospital.

* All fever patients should get bed rest. They should not attend work, school etc.

* Medications such as Aspirin and Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac etc. should not be taken.

* All fever patients should take Paracetamol only. Other medications cause Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF).

l All fever patients should not take any red or dark brown food and beverages. It makes it difficult for Consultants to diagnose DHF.

* NS1 test should be done within 48 hours (counted after the first 12 hours from the onset of fever). A negative result of NS1 test should not be taken for granted by persons who suffered from Dengue in the past.

* A Full Blood Count should be tested in 48 hours and even if the result is normal, the test should be repeated in another 24 hours. Fever patients should not ignore fever even if the fever goes down in a day or two. They must do the blood tests after the fever goes down.

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