Dengue Fever: Know the Signs and Symptoms

May 15, 2018

Quick Bites:
  • Dengue is spread by the Aedes mosquito 
  • Symptoms of dengue fever start within 4-7 days after the bite of an infected mosquito
  • Dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome are the severe forms of dengue
  • Dengue shock syndrome could lead to death within 24 hours

In the past decade, dengue fever has been on the rise in India and many states in the country are drastically affected by it. It remains a continuous threat to the population and kills approximately 20,000 people every year. It is spread by the vector called Aedes mosquito, which breeds on still water in many cities that gets collected after the end of summer. 

Dengue infection can vary from mild to acute illness. In most people, the symptoms of dengue fever start within 4-7 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms of Dengue fever in adults, as well as children, are difficult to identify as they are similar to symptoms of malaria and typhoid fever. It might become a challenge for some to identify symptoms of dengue fever.

Symptoms of Dengue Fever: 

Abrupt onset of high fever which may be up to 105ºF

  • A severe headache 
  • Severe joint and muscle pain
  • Retro-orbital pain: pain behind the eyes. It may worsen even with the slightest movement of the eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Measles: Rashes may start over the torso and extend to upper and lower limbs. Rashes may spread from the torso to the arms, legs and face

These symptoms may disappear after a few days. These types of symptoms only occur at an early stage, but dengue could progress into a more severe form: Dengue Shock Syndrome and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. These are rare complications of dengue, but they are life-threatening. A person suffering from dengue hemorrhagic fevere may experience:

  • Damaged blood vessels – leakage of fluid from the blood vessels 
  • Nose bleeding and bleeding from the mouth, skin and gums

This bleeding may lead to purple/ish bruises. If in some cases, symptoms of dengue fever resolve, signs of circulatory failure develop which can rapidly progress to severe shock, which could lead to death. 

The most severe type of dengue is dengue shock syndrome, symptoms of which include: 

  • Severe bleeding from the nose, mouth, and skin
  • Extremely low blood pressure due to shock 
  • Leakage of fluid outside blood vessels 

Some of the other symptoms which are common in both the types are: 

  • Clammy, cold or pale skin 
  • Bleeding while vomiting 
  • Red spots or patches on the skin 
  • Tiredness and sleepiness
  • Severe and continuous stomach pain 
  • Breathing difficulty 
  • Confusion and seizures 

Dengue shock syndrome could also lead to an organ dysfunction because of low blood pressure. The presence of these symptoms means that the patient must immediately be admitted to the hospital. It occurs only in about 5% of the dengue fever cases but if you detect any such symptoms in the patient, you are advised to rush to the hospital as soon as possible. Dengue shock syndrome could lead to death within 24 hours. 

Read more articles on Dengue.

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