Dengue in Children
Dengue in children
The little space that we humans create for ourselves around us is also surrounded by a lot of other small and big organisms. While these organisms are a part of the bigger ecosystem and food chain, many a time they are also responsible for carrying and transmitting diseases to us. One such small organism which is capable of transmitting big diseases in humans is mosquito,and Dengue is one such disease that is caused by mosquito bite. Dengue is one of the most common viral illness seen in children and is responsible for a lot of morbidity and mortality all over India. Since the specific cause for this disease is known and can be prevented, all parents should be aware of it and prevent it at all costs.
What causes Dengue?
Dengue is a viral disease, which is caused when a mosquito of the Aedes family carrying the dengue virus bites a healthy individual. The mosquito here is only responsible for taking the virus from one person to the other. It is after biting a diseased individual that the mosquito harbors the virus which is then transmitted by it to ahealthy personand so forth. It is important to note that dengue does not transmit from one person to the other directly without the mosquito.
The dengue virus can be of four different types. After getting infected with one type of virus a person may get immune to getting the disease by it, but, the other three are still capable of causing disease in the same person. Any such second episode of dengue is usually more dangerous with more complications than the first episode. This disease is most prevalent in tropical countries, and India is one such place with the maximum prevalence of dengue.
How to identify dengue?
Dengue may present with varying symptoms in children. While the younger children may have milder symptoms, the older ones may present with a more serious illness. The disease presents itself after 4 days to two weeks of a mosquito bite and may last anywhere between 2-7 days or more. It starts with fever and strikingly complicates some days later after the fever goes away. One very classic sign noted in dengue is pain in the muscles and joints, which is the reason why it is also popularly known as the breakbone fever in common language. Though dengue doesn’t break any bones, but because of the pain it causes it is termed so. Some common symptoms that should be looked for in dengue include:
- Fever which is usually very high
- Pain in muscles and joints
- Severe headache
- Rashes over the body
- Bleeding from nose or gums due to low platelets
- Bruising on minor hurt due to low platelets
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
In case of noticing any such symptoms or in case of any doubt it is advisable to consult the pediatrician in order to save the child from developing complications due to dengue. Your doctor will examine the child in detail and will also take a blood sample for examination to confirm the disease.
Complications in dengue
As mentioned above, it is after the fever goes away that dengue may present with some complications of the disease which may be severe. Dengue makes the blood vessels leaky and is thus responsible for the loss of fluid from them. Due to such an insufficiency, the blood circulation is affected and the organs don’t get sufficient nutrients and oxygen. Along with this, some children may also present with dehydration and hemorrhage due to low platelets.Due to such an effect, a deadly complication called dengue shock syndromeor dengue hemorrhagic fever develops. This is an alarming and life-threateningconditionand can be avoided by care that is taken at the right time.
Prevention of dengue
Since dengue can lead to serious illness in a child, thus all measures should be taken to prevent it.To prevent dengue utmost care has to be taken to protect the child from any harmful mosquito bite and also, you have to make sure that your surroundings are not responsible for the breeding of such mosquitoes. The following can be remembered when it comes to prevention:
- Usage of mesh in all doors and windows in order to block the mosquitoes from entering the house.
- Usage of mosquito net for babies and children to prevent any mosquito bites while they are asleep.
- Usage of mosquito repellent creams on the exposed body parts whenever the child goes out to play.
- Make children wear full sleeves shirts and t-shirts and full pants especially when they go out, to prevent any mosquito bite. Since the dengue mosquito tends to bite in the daytime, thus, such care is important during the day hours too.
- Any water accumulation should be prevented in and around the house. Since the dengue mosquito breeds in clean water, it is important to make sure that utmost hygiene is maintained in and around the house. Water accumulation has to be prevented in flower vases, pots on the balcony, or any ditch in or around the house. Water in buckets if stored for prolonged periods is advised to be covered, and any water used for birds in the balcony should be cleaned and changed regularly. In case of the existence of any water retention areas around the house, one should take the responsibility to get it repaired in order to prevent water from accumulating in it.
Treatment in dengue
It’s always advisable to get the child diagnosed of dengue by the pediatrician so that specific care can be provided. In cases of mild illness, good home care which includes adequate sleep and rest along with regular intake of plenty of fluids may suffice. Your pediatrician may also consider prescribing some medication for body aches depending on the age and weight of the child. In cases of moderate to severe illness, hospitalization maybe the option to provide the required treatment to the child. During the stay at the hospital, fluids are monitored and administered to the child as per the severity of the disease, thereby preventing any complications and treating the ongoing illness.
We, at Ankura hospital, advise all parents to take maximum care to prevent any mosquito breeding and bite in children during all seasons and especially the summer and rainy seasons. However, in case of any active infection, our specialized team of pediatricians are there to guide and provide any required treatment in dengue-affected children.