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Dengue Fever

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Dengue Symptom

Dengue fever pronounced as 'Den ghee' is caused by the bite of an infected mosquito and is a viral disease imitating flu. The term as such is from Swahili phrase 'ki denga pepo' that means 'cramp like seizures caused by an evil spirit'. Dengue virus fever is common in most tropical places of the world namely Asia, Africa, Australia and the Pacific. Caribbean basin has widespread cases of dengue. Dengue usually breaks out immediately after the rains in the tropical and subtropical areas.

Aedes mosquitoes spread the infection after biting the infected persons. They usually breed in flowerpots, old oil drums, water storage tins that are close to densely populated areas. Mosquitoes that cause dengue bite during the day. Dengue infection occurs at two levels - dengue fever at normal levels and dengue hemorrhagic fever at extreme levels. Learn to identify typical symptoms of Dengue and how you can protect yourself.

Symptoms of dengue fever

Unexpectedly high fever, headache, rashes, muscle and joint pain, and pain behind the eyes (retro-orbital) are the key symptoms of dengue. The joint pain is so ruthless that dengue is also termed as 'break bone fever'. Loss of appetite and queasiness are other notable symptoms in dengue. Few patients might also suffer from diarrhea and gastritis.

Rashes begin to appear no more than 3-4 days after the fever sets in. The rashes are bright red in color and begin showing up in the lower limbs and later on in the chest and in worst cases rashes appear all over the body. The overall sickness period lasts up to 10 days; total recovery from the illness can take about a month's time. Platelet count drops with the onset of fever and improves as the fever reduces. Dengue can be diagnosed after a blood test.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever

Extreme conditions of dengue can lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever wherein all symptoms are similar except for severe bleeding from the nose, mouth or gums and the black stools that resemble coal tar. Restlessness and excessive thirst are also accountable in such cases. A healthy person can fall sick after 3-4 days subsequent to the infected mosquito bite, grown up children and adults take a longer to recover than younger children.


People infected with dengue are advised to take good rest and drink plenty of fluids. Patients who are unable to take oral fluids are given intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration of the body. Patients have to be isolated from mosquitoes so as to avoid spread of the infection. With severe cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever, blood transfusion might be recommended to compensate the blood loss from the mouth, nose and gums.

Prevention of dengue

No vaccines have been found to prevent dengue. All you can do to prevent dengue is to:

  • Wear clothing that can protect you from mosquitoes in particular when you are in areas thickly infested with mosquitoes.

  • Avoid thickly populated human dwellings, for this is the place where these mosquitoes thrive.

  • Apply creams or repellants that can protect you from mosquito bites.

  • Protect your house with mosquito nets or repellants thereby keeping mosquitoes at bay.

  • If you notice any symptoms of dengue, report to your physician immediately.
Dengue Fever