Managing the symptoms of Dengue fever even as a cure eludes medical science
Dengue fever is a viral infection transmitted through the Aedes species of mosquitos and is more prevalent in tropical as well as semi-tropical countries. In many cases, the disease appears to halt progress on its own.
If the infection progresses beyond two weeks, the fever often escalates to a more dangerous condition called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever marked by extreme fluid loss and profuse bleeding. Ongoing medical research has not yet discovered a vaccine for the disease. Treatments are confined to addressing the symptoms, not curing the underlying condition.
The symptomatic treatment of Dengue fever
You do not require complex medical facilities or sophisticated treatments to tackle the symptoms of Dengue fever. Solitary confinement, rehydration, (juices, soups, and water) pain and palliative care are the home-based treatment options. The supportive treatment the patient requires depends on the seriousness of the symptoms.
The following Dengue symptoms can be controlled through residential care
- The fever spikes and subsides quickly within hours or a couple of days, and there are no core symptoms that usually accompany Dengue.
- The patient is able to consume solid food and a good amount of fluids, and passes urine comfortably without obstruction every four to six hours.
- The total blood count is not adverse, and sufficient numbers of red blood cells are present compared to the total blood volume.
For these individuals, oral rehydration is the best recourse, and if that appears insufficient, intravenous rehydration could be administered.
Hospitalization is necessary to tackle the following Dengue symptoms
- One or more symptoms of pain, nausea, vomiting and blood loss coexist with intense fever, pointing to a well-entrenched infection that requires supportive medical care.
- People with a history of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, kidney malfunction and liver disorders, as well as pregnant women need supportive hospitalization. They need sophisticated medical intervention to fend off the serious effects of preexisting conditions.
- The hematocrit test reveals the continued disintegration of white blood cells and platelets that are essential for fighting infection. This condition seriously impairs the body’s immune system and ability to combat infections.
Symptoms of Dengue fever that need emergency intensive care
- Fever continues beyond seven days and shows no signs of abating.
- Development of a chronic headache with throbbing pain following eye movements. Pain spreads to the abdominal area, limbs and joints. Even the slightest movement becomes excruciatingly painful.
- Becomes disinterested in food and fluid intake diminishes rapidly causing acute dehydration.
- Eating sparks Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and vomiting tendency.
- Rashes on the skin which appear bruised and pockmarked with petechial bleeding spots (areas where blood oozes out of burst capillaries). Nasal and oral bleeding follows.
Managing the critically ill Dengue patient
Blood transfusion may be required to halt the loss of blood and rapidly declining white blood cell and platelet counts. Continuous (over 48 hours) rehydration of the body by administering saline (diluted salt) solutions and thicker colloidal solutions that add volume to blood plasma.
Closely monitor the following health parameters:
- Body temperature
- Degree of control over blood sugar levels
- Fluid accumulation in lungs or the abdominal cavity
- Volume of urine passed during the day
- Kidney function test and liver function test to assess functional disorders
- Measurement of the platelet and white blood cell count, and their ratio compared to the whole blood volume
- Disorders that affect blood coagulation