Dengue Fever: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) is a tropical disease caused by infection with dengue virus, a virus that belongs to the genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae. This virus infection spreads to the human body through the bite of the female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes which had previously carried the virus after biting other sufferers.

Dengue fever knows no age. This disease can infect anyone, often even causing very many victims, especially during the change of seasons. Problems that arise from dengue fever can get worse because it is often accompanied by other infections such as flu or typhus.

Causes of Dengue Fever and risk factors that can arise
Dengue fever is caused by a viral infection that belongs to the genus Flavivirus, the family Flaviviridae. There are 4 types of dengue viruses, namely, type DEN 1, DEN 2, DEN 3 and DEN 4. For now, the viruses that are known to develop the most in the community are type 1 and type 3.

Dengue fever is transmitted through the bite of the female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus females that have been infected with this virus before. This mosquito usually often bites humans in the morning.

Dengue fever often occurs in tropical areas with high air humidity such as Indonesia, especially in slums. This disease will usually begin to appear at the turn of the season, where the temperature is very suitable for breeding mosquitoes transmitting this disease.

Although dengue can affect anyone, there are certain conditions that make a person affected by this disease. People with a low immune system, elderly people and infants and toddlers are the people most at risk of dengue virus infection.

Symptoms of Dengue Fever
Dengue fever is a disease that can pose a risk of death. This is caused by the occurrence of plasma leakage (discharge of fluid in blood vessels into the space between cells).

This condition is very dangerous because it can cause sufferers to experience shock and can lead to death if not treated quickly and appropriately. Therefore, recognizing the symptoms of dengue fever is very important so that treatment can be done quickly.

A. Symptoms in the initial phase (fever phase)
Dengue fever usually lasts around 4-10 days. In the initial phase, the symptoms are high fever that comes suddenly ranging from 40C, decreased appetite, headaches, chills, weakness, pain behind the eyes, skin redness, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

B. Symptoms in the critical phase
On days 4, 5 or 6 patients enter a critical or cold phase. In this phase the sufferer feels as if healed, even though this phase is the most dangerous time because in this phase shock can occur. Shock can cause sufferers to become very weak even if not immediately get help can occur death.

The signs in this phase are decreased body temperature, cold sweats especially on the feet and palms, decreased blood pressure, and a drastic decrease in platelet levels. In this phase also begins to show signs of bleeding such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, red spots on the skin, and sometimes vomiting blood.

C. Symptoms in the convalescent phase
If the patient is able to pass the critical phase, his body temperature will rise again but the recovery process will usually happen soon.

Clinical examination
When you suffer from dengue fever, your doctor will conduct a series of tests for diagnosis or evaluation. These tests include blood pressure checks, blood tests and sometimes chest x-rays.

In blood tests, things that are examined such as leukocytes, platelets and hematocrit. During the initial phase, the number of leukocytes is still normal and will tend to decrease during the fever phase. Decreased platelets (platelets) to levels <100,000 / mm3 usually only occur between days 3 to 7.

Hematocrit level (HCT) indicates the occurrence of plasma leakage. Hematocrit levels that are too low make dengue sufferers required to be hospitalized, because plasma leakage is very dangerous. This situation can cause shock that can lead to death. Blood tests will be repeated to confirm the condition of the patient.

Prevention of Dengue Fever
Prevention of dengue fever focuses on controlling the transmitters, the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. So far, smoking or fogging is often done if someone is affected by dengue fever somewhere.

However, this effort is known to be very ineffective in preventing mosquito breeding. A better effort is to maintain a clean environment to eradicate mosquito nests. Eradication of mosquito nests can be done with 3M, namely, closing, draining, and hoarding.

Closing water reservoirs to reduce mosquito breeding sites, draining and cleaning bathtubs or other water reservoirs on a regular basis, burying potential waste as mosquito nests, avoiding standing water by keeping the drainage channels running smoothly and others, are examples that can be done.

For protection from mosquito bites that transmit dengue fever, you can use anti-mosquito lotion, especially in the morning. Using a mosquito net on the bed, if your condition requires you to sleep / rest in the morning, for example, sick.

Treatment of Dengue Fever
In general, viral infections will improve on their own along with the times. In 2017, a dengue vaccine was found to prevent the severity of the disease but could not prevent a person affected by dengue. Treatment of patients with this disease is more supportive therapy, which is to overcome fluid loss in cases of plasma leakage and bleeding and to overcome symptoms.

Here are some things that are done to deal with dengue:
  • Provision of fluids and electrolytes through intravenous infusion to overcome plasma leakage and electrolyte imbalance.
  • Provision of heat-lowering drugs (such as paracetamol), or other symptom-relief medications such as anti-nausea or mutah drugs if needed.
  • For patients with more severe conditions, blood transfusion and oxygen therapy may be needed.
  • During treatment, the doctor will continue to monitor the patient's condition by carrying out a series of tests as needed.

The patient's fluid needs can also be obtained by drinking enough. Drinks do not have to be plain water but can also be sweet tea, milk, fruit juice, ORS or other drinks such as electrolyte-added cans.

The following foods or drinks are often used for handling dengue fever:

The water needed for dengue penderits increases according to the degree of dehydration.

Coconut water
Besides containing liquid, young coconut water also contains body C sugar. These fluids and electrolytes are very helpful in the process of healing dengue fever sufferers. Besides young coconut water also contains B vitamins, vitamin C, and protein.

Fruit juice
Fruit juices that can be used to help treat patients with dengue fever such as guava, papaya, oranges, mangoes and other fruits. Besides containing a lot of liquid, juice also contains a lot of vitamins and minerals and is very easily absorbed by the intestine.

Doctors who can be addressed for the treatment of dengue fever
When you experience symptoms of dengue fever, the first aid you can do is to see a general practitioner. After you have a dengue test, you will be referred to an internist or internist.
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