Dengue fever is caused by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. After being bitten, it takes between 3 to 14 days to start experiencing symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms are sudden fever and extreme tiredness, intense headache (especially behind the eyes), muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal pain, rashes or minor bleeding from nose and gums.
Fever may reach high temperatures of 40°C to 41°C and usually continues for 2 to 7 days. Rashes typically appear after the onset of fever on days 3 and 4. Dengue fever symptoms affect everyone differently, depending on age. Younger patients especially may not experience any symptoms at all with a mild case.
Dengue fever may develop into severe dengue (Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome), which occurs around 3-7 days after the first sign of illness. It starts with the typical signs and symptoms of dengue described above. After the fever begins to abate, symptoms occur that relate to increased permeability of the capillary blood vessels.
These symptoms can include severe abdominal pain, prolonged vomiting, and breathing problems. Bleeding tendencies, including easy bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, skin hemorrhages, and even internal bleeding may occur. The disease may progress to failure of the circulatory system, leading to shock and death.
How Serious is Dengue in Malaysia?
The surge in dengue has been coming mostly from Asia, which accounts for 75% of the world’s population and has an estimated 1.8 billion people at risk of dengue. In Malaysia in 2015, the number of dengue cases increased by 11.2% to 120,836 cases. That’s 335 cases each day – and there was a more than 50% increase in the number of deaths caused by dengue compared to 2014.
How is Dengue Treated?
Currently there is no specific vaccine or medication to prevent or treat dengue fever. Treatment is purely concerned with relief of the symptoms (symptomatic), rest and adequate hydration. Paracetamol can be taken to reduce fever and relieve pain but avoid aspirin for children under the age of 12 years.
With no current cure, and dengue cases on the rise, it is important to protect yourself for an unexpected stay in hospital. An accidental hospital plan like EZCergas not only helps to cover the high costs of hospital stay, there is also a bonus Dengue and Malaria add-on which pays a daily income benefit to aid your recovery.
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