Defending against Deadly Dengue | Daily News

Defending against Deadly Dengue

According to epidemiologists, the number of dengue patients has drastically gone up and it is about to reach 10,000 within just two months. The entire country needs to be vigilant of any type of fever because it can be dengue or COVID-19.

According to Consultant Community Physician Dr. Anoja Weerasinghe, 50 percent of the total number of dengue patients reported this year has been reported from the Western Province and 48 percent has been reported from the Colombo District.

She said that people with fever should seek medical advice within 24 hours and it is recommended to get the NS1 (Dengue Virus Antigen Detection) test done as soon as possible because accurate test results can be obtained when this test is done as soon as a person gets fever.

She said that a high number of dengue patients has been reported from districts such as Jaffna, Puttalam, Galle, Trincomalee, Ratnapura and Batticaloa.

“The type of dengue virus that spreads these days is different from the previous years and this is one reason for the increasing number of dengue patients islandwide,” she said.

Physician attached to the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) Dr. Upul Dissanayake said that even if the NS1 test becomes negative, people should be vigilant because only 62 percent shows a positive result when he or she gets dengue for the second time.

Preventing Dengue

* People can protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves/ fully-covered dresses during the daytime.

* Use mosquito repellent (It should be applied on the skin and re-applied after a few hours).

* The most popular mosquito repellent is Citronella oil. It can be applied by mixing with 50 percent of coconut oil or something similar in order to reduce its mild burning sensation.

* Adults can use natural or artificial mosquito repellents.

* Mosquito repellents are not suitable for infants below two years.

* Natural mosquito repellents should be used for children between two and five years.

* Mosquito nets should be used by all while sleeping both day and night.

* House screening (windows and doors) using nets or similar material prevents the entry of mosquitoes.

* Keeping bedrooms, kitchens and toilets well-lit, ventilated and airy to prevent adult female mosquitoes from entering the house.

* Special attention should be paid to destroying and cleaning (rubbing them is a must) all possible dengue mosquito-breeding sites which hold water, such as gutters, water tanks, refrigerator tray, commode and its water tank regularly (at least once a week).

* All plants in the bromeliad family, cut bamboo trees and cavities in trees, etc. should be removed or filled with sand. Wells should be used daily or covered with a net or similar material to prevent the entry of mosquitoes.

* All flower vases with water, ant traps and small ponds, etc. should be removed from homes.

* Garbage, especially used food containers and tyres, etc. should be removed from gardens. Even a tiny pen clip which holds water is adequate for dengue mosquitoes to breed. Cleaning should be done regularly (at least once a week).

* Since dengue mosquitoes cannot travel far away from the breeding site, people should pay attention to keeping their homes and surroundings free of mosquito breeding sites.

* Dengue mosquitoes fly around 500 metres. Dengue larvae can survive in a dry environment for a period of one year. Even after one year, these larvae can produce dengue mosquitoes when they receive water.

If a person suffers from fever

* All those who suffer from fever should seek treatment from a hospital or a qualified doctor immediately.

* Pregnant mothers, infants, the elderly and people who suffer from chronic diseases should seek immediate treatment for fever.

* Home remedies should not be applied for any type of fever.

* All fever patients should get bed rest. They should not attend work, school, etc.

* Medications such as Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) including Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac etc. should not be taken.

* All fever patients should take Paracetamol only.

* Fever patients should not take any red or brown-coloured food and beverages, for it makes it difficult for consultants to diagnose DHF.

* The NS1 test should be done within 24 hours or as soon as possible when a person gets a fever. A negative result of the NS1 test should not be taken for granted by persons who have suffered from dengue in the past.

* A Full Blood Count should be performed within 48 hours and even if the results are normal, the test should be repeated in another 24 hours. Fever patients should not ignore fever even if the fever goes down in a day or two. They must carry out the blood tests after the fever goes down.


If a person suffers from dengue

*The symptoms of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) are severe pain in the stom­ach, vomiting, bleeding from gums, nose, vagina, etc., red patches on the skin, coldness in hands and legs, less or no urination, paleness, sleepiness, uneasiness, feeling faint, dizziness, etc. Immediate hospitalisation is required for patients.

*Settling of fever alone can deteriorate the nature of dengue. It means that some patients presume that when the fever is cured, they have recovered from dengue. Perhaps not. Patients have to be vigilant and seek frequent treatment until a qualified physician recommends it.

*If a person has the dengue virus inside his or her body even without any visible symptoms such as fever, he or she can transmit the virus to the mosquito and when that mosquito bites a healthy person, he or she becomes infected with dengue. Therefore, dengue patients must be kept inside mosquito nets at all times.


If you have recovered from dengue

* The duration of rest depends on the person’s condi­tion and how she or he feels.
* Such persons should not start their normal routine until they regain their vitality.
* Children who are cured should take adequate rest until they are strong enough to do so.
* Parents should not force such children to attend sports, tuition classes, etc. if the children do not feel strong enough.
* A person who has recovered from one type of dengue may become infected with any of the three types of dengue at any moment.


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