Dr. Satish Kumar M.G

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Dr. Satish Kumar M.G

Consultant - Internal Medicine

Manipal Hospitals, Mysuru

Coping With Dengue: Symptoms And Recovery Tips

Posted On: May 30, 2024

blogs read 4 Min Read

Dengue Fever: Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis  and  Treatment

Dengue fever is caused by a mosquito bite carrying one of four kinds of dengue virus (DENV). The virus is found in tropical and subtropical locations of Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Dengue does not directly spread from person to person except in rare cases, such as when transmitted from a pregnant woman to her child. Symptoms are mild with your first infection, but your chance of serious complications increases if you get an infection the second time with a different type of DENV.

What Are the signs and symptoms of dengue fever?

Dengue fever symptoms can vary in severity, with about 75% of individuals not experiencing any visible symptoms at all.

Mild Symptoms

Dengue fever's mild symptoms may include a sudden fever of approximately 104°F (40°C), along with:

  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Rash
  • Eye pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Facial redness
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Red eyes

The symptoms last between 2–7 days, and most people feel better after one week. The fever may spike, go away for 24 hours, then spike again.

Severe Symptoms

Dengue fever mild symptoms may persist 24 to 48 hours later or around 3 to 7 days after the onset of illness. They may include:

  • Abdominal pain or sensitivity
  • Persistent vomiting (at least three times within 24 hours)
  • Nosebleeds or bleeding gums
  • Vomiting blood
  • Blood in the stool
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Fluctuations in body temperature from hot to cold
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Rapid and weak pulse

Anyone with severe symptoms of dengue fever needs immediate medical attention. Severe signs and symptoms can indicate DSS or DHF. They are potentially fatal.

How Is Dengue Fever Diagnosed?

To ascertain whether your symptoms might be caused by dengue, the doctor will need a complete travel history, furthermore, your doctor may also advise specific diagnostic and blood tests that look for the virus or antibodies the body produces to fight the infection. These tests include:

Initial Tests for Dengue Fever

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Dengue Serology Test 
  • Dengue Virus Antigen Detection

Tests for Severe Symptoms and Complications:

  • Liver Function Tests 
  • Renal Function Test 
  • ECG
  • Ultrasound Abdomen (USG)
  • Chest X-ray
  • D-dimer Test
  • 2D Echocardiography

How Is Dengue Fever Treated?

Your doctor will determine the best treatment based on

  • Your age
  • Your overall and past health
  • The severity of your illness
  • Your ability to tolerate specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • The expected duration of your condition
  • Your preferences

Common treatment for dengue fever involves supportive measures such as bed rest, fluids, and painkillers. Acetaminophen can be used to reduce fever. However, you must not take any NSAID aspirin or ibuprofen to avoid bleeding. In severe circumstances, you could require immediate medical attention from professionals experienced in treating the condition. It can significantly lower the mortality risk.

How Can Dengue Fever Be Prevented?

There is no widely used or FDA-approved vaccine for dengue fever. Travelers should take measures to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Collaboration between the health and public and private sectors; 
  • An integrated approach to disease control to maximise the use of resources; 
  • Evidence-based decision-making for any intervention is targeted appropriately, and capacity-building is needed for an adequate response to the local situation.

Other preventive measures are:

  1. To deter mosquitoes from biting, use an insect repellent. These are easily available and can be applied directly to the skin, cloth, or any surface to keep mosquitoes at bay.
  2. Wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants, especially when outdoors, can protect you from mosquito bites. It reduces the risk of dengue fever and its subsequent effects.
  3. In mosquito-prone areas, mosquito netting is an excellent option for protection against mosquitoes that can transmit dengue.
  4. Use structural barriers like your home's windows and screens that help keep mosquitoes out of your location. Attempt to keep the windows and doors closed. Although dengue might be difficult to treat, you must become more resilient and take action.  
  5. Keep a check on stagnant water. You can reduce the risk of mosquito breeding by:
  • Turning buckets and cans over to prevent water accumulation
  • Removing excess water from plant pot plates
  • Loosening the soil to eliminate puddles forming on the surface
  • Changing water in flower vases every second day
  • Preventing leaves or waste material from blocking anything that may result in water accumulation.

Dengue fever is a serious mosquito-borne illness. That said, proper measures to prevent dengue fever, timely detection, and adequate treatment can ensure the person recovers smoothly and quickly without serious health problems. Awareness is the key to fighting dengue fever.


Warning Signs of dengue are as follows: 

  • Clinical fluid accumulation. 
  • Abdominal pain or tenderness. 
  • Lethargy or restlessness. 
  • Persistent vomiting.
  • Mucosal bleed. 
  • Liver enlargement > 2 cm. 
  • A laboratory finding of increasing HCT concurrent with a rapid decrease in platelet count.

A dengue virus has four distinct strains. A patient who contracts only one type of the virus generates antibodies directed against that particular viral organism. The patient would be highly susceptible to severe dengue if any of the other three variations had bitten them, as indicated by the antibodies that do exhibit any effect.

Severe cases of dengue fever can cause death other than shock and internal bleeding. Pregnant women and newborns/infants are at high risk of developing severe dengue. Among people affected by dengue, 5% (one in 20 affected members) have a risk of severe dengue, and patients affected for the second time have a higher chance of contracting severe dengue.

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