Dengue is an illness caused by a virus transmitted to people by certain mosquitoes. Some people develop a more severe illness known as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), which can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated promptly. Babies under 12 months are more likely to develop a severe case of the disease. There are other viral etiologies of fever, including dengue, Chikungunya, influenza, rota and adeno viruse that re responsibe for causing a major disease burden. The lack of diagnostic facilities in developing countries leads to failure to estimate the true burden of such illnesses, and generally the diseases are underreported. These diseases may have similar symptoms with other causes of acute febrile illnesses including malaria and hence clinical diagnosis without laboratory tests can be difficult.
Symptoms of dengue in babies:
High grade fever more than 101 degrees fahrenheit
Refusing to eat, loss of appetite
Rashes on the body
Body appears to be cold
Treatment of dengue in babies:
There is no medicine for dengue. Hence the treatment protocol includes the continuous monitoring of the child. Doctors suggest treating the symptoms in these simple ways:
Give the baby rest – Make sure your baby gets ample chances to take rest.
Make the baby drink fluids- Try to get your baby drink lot of fluids frequently to avoid dehydration. (Babies under 6 months should drink only breast milk or formula. If your baby is 3 months or older, your doctor may recommend a rehydration liquid as well. Babies 6 months or older can have sips of water, too.)
Give the baby the right medication – Acetaminophen can be given to the babiesto relieve fever and pain. It is not advisable to give NSAIDS like ibuprofen or aspirin to the babies.
Go to the hospital at the right time – If your baby gets worse or starts vomiting in the first 24 hours after the fever goes down, immediately rush to the hospital.
Hospitalization may be required – Babies who develop the more severe dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) may be hospitalized and given fluid replacement therapy. When diagnosed early, DHF can be effectively treated this way.
Diagnosis of Dengue:
Mostly doctors suggest getting a blood test done to check for dengue virus. But many of the specialists identify the fever just from the appearance of the baby.
The doctors may ask you about the symptoms and exposure to mosquitoes of your baby and more. A complete blood picture is also taken to identify the severity of infection since the blood platelets will be badly affected.
Prevention of Dengue:
Dengue is a severe infection but it can be controlled with the preventive measures such as:
Maintaining hygiene and avoiding stagnancy of water
Use of bed nets
Ensuring that your child wears full sleeved or covered clothes