Things to know about Dengue Fever in Children
At present we are facing the dengue epidemic and there are a lot of cases especially in children. This increased incidence of the illness and a lot of myths associated with the disease is causing much anxiety and panic in the parent’s minds.
At Ankura Hospital for Women and Children, we are treating a lot of children with Dengue and Dengue-like illnesses. Amongst the children treated at the hospital recently, around 30% of the total patients required hospital admission, and the rest were treated as outpatients. Around 10% of children required admission to our Pediatric intensive care unit, but the good part is that none of the patients required blood or platelet transfusion.
Here we want to give a clear picture of the disease, treatment, and danger signs to help dispel the anxiety of parents says says Dr. K K Durga Prasad, DNB(Pediatrics) & Medical Director, Ankura hospital for women & Children, Hyderabad
What are the signs of Dengue and how it is different from other viral fevers?
To start with, Dengue fever is like any other viral fever. The factors that can differentiate Dengue from other viral fever is a sudden onset of high fever, of about 103-105°F, associated with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, exhaustion, and rash over the body. All these symptoms can also be associated with nausea or vomiting. The symptoms can last for over 5-7 days. These symptoms can be seen in normal viral fever also but in Dengue, exhaustion, and joint pain are very severe and children look sick even when there is no fever.
What are the danger signs of Dengue fever?
Any child who has features such as – severe pain in the abdomen, persistent vomiting, not passing enough urine, feeling very weak, or has excessive sleepiness with fever or for 1 to 2 days ever after the fever subsides are the children who should be taken to a doctor immediately.
Can dengue fever be treated at home?
Most patients with dengue fever can be treated at home. They should take rest, drink plenty of fluids and maintain a nutritious diet. Taking plenty of fluids is very important and prevents the complications of Dengue fever.
Fever should be treated with fever medicines; antibiotics are not required.
How will the doctors treat my child in the hospital?
If the home remedies are not working or the child is very sick, then the child is admitted to the hospital. The treatment is hydration with the administration of intravenous fluids, having control over vomiting, and monitoring the blood parameters to look for thickness of blood (hematocrit) and liver enzymes, etc.
What is the role of platelet count and how often do we require to check it?
Platelet count usually decreases during the course of illness but treatment and assessment of the severity of the disease is based on the degree of dehydration and thickness of blood (haematocrit) and platelet count has no role in either of them. Increased risk of bleeding in dengue is associated with decreased blood supply to the vital organs and low blood pressure.
If the above are normal and the child is clinically improving and has good oral intake with no sign of dehydration, then, in most cases, a low platelet count should not cause a problem. But if the child has low blood pressure and severe dehydration then chances of bleeding are present even with a relatively higher platelet count. In such cases, we need to monitor the disease very closely.
Is there a vaccine to prevent dengue fever?
At present, there are no vaccines to prevent dengue fever.
How can I prevent Dengue?
Dengue is caused by the bite of the Aedes mosquito. This mosquito bites during the day, and the highest biting intensity is about 2 hours after sunrise and before sunset. To prevent mosquito bites wearing full-sleeve clothes and long dre,sses especially when going outside, using mosquito repellents, and preventing water from accumulating and mosquito breeding are important factors.
“Preventing mosquito bite, giving good fluid intake during fever, and keeping an eye on the danger signs can help us prevent the disease and the complications associated with the disease in children”, says Doctor Dr. Durga Prasad, Dr. K K Durga Prasad, DNB(Pediatrics) & Medical Director, Ankura hospital for women & Children, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.
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Ahmedabad/Updated on: 11 July 2022