Dengue fever, often referred to as the “breakbone fever,” is a mosquito-borne viral illness that poses a significant health risk in many parts of the world. With its flu-like symptoms and potential for severe complications, dengue is a disease that should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to guard yourself against dengue. In this blog post, we’ll explore what dengue fever is, its symptoms, and most importantly, the prevention and protection strategies you can implement to stay safe.
Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus, which is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female Aedes mosquitoes, particularly Aedes aegypti. The virus is prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions, making it a significant public health concern in many parts of Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Americas, and Africa.
The symptoms of dengue fever can vary from mild to severe
- High fever: Sudden onset of a high fever, often reaching up to 104°F (40°C).
- Severe headaches: Intense headaches, typically concentrated around the eyes.
- Joint and muscle pain: Pain that gives dengue its colloquial name, “breakbone fever.”
- Rash: A rash that may appear a few days after the fever starts.
- Mild bleeding: Symptoms like nosebleeds or gum bleeding can occur.
- Fatigue: Overwhelming tiredness and weakness.
Prevention and Protection Strategies
Preventing dengue fever primarily involves reducing your risk of mosquito bites and eliminating mosquito breeding sites. Here’s what you can do:
Use Mosquito Repellent: Apply mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and clothing. Reapply as necessary, especially if you’re outdoors for an extended period.
Wear Protective Clothing: Cover exposed skin with long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes, especially during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
Use Bed Nets: If you live in or travel to areas with dengue risk, use bed nets treated with insecticide.
Eliminate Breeding Sites: Mosquitoes that transmit dengue breed in standing water. Regularly empty, cover, or treat containers that collect and hold water around your home, such as buckets, flower pots, and discarded tires.
Screen Windows and Doors: Install screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your living spaces.
Community Action: Participate in local community efforts to control mosquito populations and educate others about dengue prevention.
Stay Informed: Stay informed about dengue outbreaks in your area or any travel destinations you plan to visit. Take extra precautions when needed.