Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever

Recently we had a friend diagnosed with Dengue Fever. The minute he mentioned this, I could see our circle of friends take a step back in fear, wonder and excitement.

The last was surprising! Everyone was wondering what, when, how, was it painful and was he dying?

Dengue Fever is caused by a virus carried by our friendly little neighbourhood mosquito. You can find most carrier mosquitoes in sub-tropical and tropical areas of the world. Examples are African, Asia and South America. Luckily most areas of Australia are dengue free. However here in tropical North Queensland we do see random outbreaks occurring.

Most commonly this presents via a path of someone returning from their travels overseas where they have been infected. They arrive into Australia and are bitten by a mosquito, which then spreads the virus to others. Luckily dengue is only transmitted via the mosquito and cannot be transmitted directly from person to person.

Some common symptoms of having Dengue Fever are very similar to a serious case of the flu:

  • Fever which can be mildly annoying to completely horrid
  • Headache and pain behind the ears
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen glands and a rash

An aspect to consider is the duration till onset and the time with symptoms. Most symptoms vary from mild to severe, appearing somewhere between 3-14 days after mosquito bite. They then remain from anywhere between 2-7 days. If you have any of the above symptoms and think you may have Dengue Fever, we recommend you contact your family GP immediately.

There is no specific treatment to help overcome Dengue Fever. Your main options are what we call symptom relief. Taking plenty of fluids and minimising the pain with paracetamol can help. However we caution using ibuprofen or aspirin, as these medicines can worsen any bleeding you may have.

As you travel you may think ‘OK, how do I prevent getting Dengue?’

Firstly, there isn’t a vaccine available. Prevention is going to be better than cure. Therefore, we need to avoid our little buzzing friend from landing on our skin and giving us a nasty bite

  • During times of the day such as dusk and dawn its best to avoid being outside when mosquitoes are active
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing, covered shoes and sleep within mosquito netting if camping outside
  • Use a high-quality mosquito repellent that contains a strong amount DEET

Check any areas of your home that may hold stagnant/still water. This is a great breeding ground for mosquitoes. Go ahead and drain to remove any worry.

Take these little precautions when you and your family travel and you will have a fantastic time on holidays!

 

References:

Australian Government Dept of Health

Queensland Government Health

Health Direct

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