Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a serious form of dengue fever. It is important to note that dengue fever is a prevalent mosquito-borne ailment in tropical and sub-tropical countries.
The indications of dengue hemorrhagic fever include abdominal pain, bleeding beneath the skin and frequent episodes of vomiting. The severe symptoms often arise after the individual starts to recover from the dengue virus.
What are the causes?
Dengue hemorrhagic fever can arise if an individual was bitten by a mosquito or exposed to blood infected by the virus.
There are 4 types of dengue virus and when one is bitten, he/she develops immunity to that specific virus for life. Nevertheless, this immunity will protect the individual from the other types. One can still become infected by the different types of dengue virus.
Being exposed to the dengue virus repeatedly will put one at higher risk to develop dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Who are at risk?
Living or travelling to areas in South and Central America, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa or certain regions of the Caribbean puts one at higher risk for acquiring the dengue virus.
Other individuals at risk include:
- Infants and small children
- Pregnant women
- Individuals with compromised or weakened immune systems
Indications of dengue hemorrhagic fever
- Minor, moderate or high fever
- Skin rashes
- Pain in the bones, muscles or joints
In most cases, the individual feels that he/she is recovering from dengue fever and then abruptly develop new and severe symptoms. This might be an indication of dengue hemorrhagic fever. A doctor should be consulted if the following are present:
- Acute or abrupt fever
- Severe abdominal pain
- Clammy or cold skin
- Bleeding or bruising beneath the skin
- Drastic drop in the blood pressure
The objective of treatment is to manage the symptoms and prevent the infection from worsening. In severe cases, emergency treatment is required such as the following:
- Electrolyte therapy
- Hydration with intravenous fluids
- Blood transfusions
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications for pain relief
- Oxygen therapy
- Blood pressure monitoring
All these measures are aimed on managing and reducing the symptoms while allowing the body to naturally heal. The doctor will continue to monitor the response of the body.