How long does dengue fever last

How long does dengue fever last

What is dengue?

Dengue is a febrile illness that is caused by a virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes, called the dengue virus. Febrile illness is an illness that is accompanied by fever. It is an endemic disease, a disease that is common or restricted to a particular location, region, or population. It is more commonly found in tropical and subtropical climates, like in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and South America. Approximately 400 million infections occur annually and dengue is the most rapidly spreading viral illness that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Dengue is spread by Aedes mosquitoes, which breed in standing water. Collection of water in containers, water-based air coolers, and tyre dumps are good environments for mosquitoes. For people who are infected with dengue, the symptoms can be mild or severe. Thus, if you have the symptoms of dengue, book an appointment (temujanji) with a doctor.

How long does dengue fever last?

Dengue fever starts showing symptoms 3-10 days after you are bitten by an infected mosquito and usually lasts around 3-7 days. Most people recover in a week or so. However, in certain cases, there is worsening of the symptoms and will be life-threatening. This is called severe dengue. Many cases of dengue infections are asymptomatic. Mild dengue may be confused with other illnesses such as the flu or another viral infection.

The most common symptom of dengue is a high fever- 40 °C (104 °F) and any of the following signs and symptoms

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bone, joint, or muscle pain
  • Eye pain – typically behind the eyes
  • 2-5 days after onset of fever, skin rash appears.
  • Loss of appetite

When the blood vessels are damaged and become leaky, severe dengue happens. The number of platelets, the blood-clotting cells, in the blood will decrease. This can lead to complications like shock, internal bleeding, organ failure, or even mortality.

Severe dengue is a life-threatening medical emergency and should be treated immediately. Pay attention to the warning signs of severe dengue. The warning signs usually will appear within 24-48 hours after your fever goes away.

Following are the warning signs

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Gum bleeding
  • Nose bleeding
  • Blood in urine, stools, or vomit
  • Rapid breathing and difficulty in breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness and irritability

If you or your family member experience these symptoms, go to a local clinic or emergency room immediately.

Severe dengue

About 1 in 20 people who suffer from dengue infection will develop severe dengue. People with weak immune systems are at greater risk for developing severe dengue. Apart from that, those with a second or subsequent dengue infection are more likely to develop severe dengue. Pregnant women and infants are also at higher risk for developing severe dengue.

How does the doctor diagnose you with dengue?

The doctor can diagnose dengue infection with a blood test to check for the virus or the antibodies to the virus. Let your doctor know if your residential area has cases of dengue or if there were fogging services done in your area. This will facilitate and allow your doctor to evaluate the possibility of you having a dengue infection.

When to see a doctor?

Go to a local clinic or an emergency room if you have had a fever and are developing warning signs. Warning signs such as severe stomach pain, vomiting, difficulty breathing, gum or nose bleeding or blood in stools, urine or vomit.

If you or your family members get dengue fever, give careful attention and efforts to protect yourself and other family members from mosquitoes. Mosquitoes that infect the family member could spread the infection to others.