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Is it Dengue?


Health tips for travellers from BIMC Hospital

I could be Buddhist. I’m a vegetarian, I catch and release cockroaches rather than kill them and even red-back spiders are gently cajoled into leaving my back patio. I could be Buddhist – except for mosquitos. When it comes to mozzies, I become both hunter and killer.

 

According to BIMC Hospital in Bali, most people travelling to the tropics will be advised to avoid mosquito bites, not just because mosquito bites are aggravating (they are, they really are), but also because some mosquitoes are capable of carrying and spreading infections like Dengue.

 

Here’s what you need to know about Dengue thanks to BIMC Hospital:

 

Dengue Fast Facts:

  • The Dengue virus can infect humans and cause Dengue Fever and its more severe form, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.
  • Dengue cannot spread directly from person to person.
  • Not everyone who has been bitten by an infected mosquito develops symptoms.

 

Symptoms

  • high fever
  • headache
  • pain behind your eye balls
  • joint pain
  • muscle and bone pain
  • rash
  • spontaneous mild bleeding from the nose or gums or a tendency to bruise

 

“Unfortunately, some people may become severely ill as the fever declines after 5-7 days, and they develop circulation problems, where there is leaking of the fluid component of blood through the blood vessel walls,” BIMC Hospital says.

 

“This may lead to failure of the circulatory system and shock, even death.”

 

Treatment

While there is no particular drug to battle the infection, it is recommended that you consult a physician who will likely recommend a blood test and advise you to drink lots of fluids, rest and take pain and fever relievers with paracetamol/acetaminophen(avoid those containing aspirin, ibuprofen and its class, says BIMC Hospital).

 

Not everyone with the Dengue infection needs hospitalisation, but for people with Dengue Hemorrhagic fever, it is a must. This is to allow for close monitoring and to give intravenous fluids. However, even some people with Dengue fever will feel very tired and find it difficult to have enough fluid intake, therefore it may be advised to be hospitalized to receive intravenous rehydration. Low platelet levels may also be dangerous for air travel, which is another reason to have a blood test done if you have a fever and plans for flying.

 

Prevention

  • Mosquito repellents (containing DEET 20-30%) and clothing that covers the skin are very effective in preventing mosquito bites.
  • When travelling stay in places that have window and door screens or air conditioning.

Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 28 January 2014


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