It is the rainy season here in the Philippines. Mosquito bites are everywhere!
Dengue fever and its more severe form, dengue hemorrhagic fever, is caused by a virus in the Flaviviridae family. The disease is spread through the bite of an infected female mosquito called Aedes aegypti and other species such as Aedes albopictus. It is common in tropical countries like the Philippines and has become one of the fastest growing mosquito-borne diseases in the world.
The most common symptom of dengue fever is fever, which can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, rash, and pain – usually behind the eyes, muscles, joints, or bones.
The latest data from the Department of Health (DOH) shows that a total of 271,480 dengue cases occurred nationwide from January to August 2019. That’s 95 percent more than the same period in 2018. Most cases in the country are said to be from Regions VI, IV-A, X, III and the National Capital Region.
According to the World Health Organization, there are no specific drugs for dengue fever. Patients are advised to consult a doctor, rest and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can occur when a person loses too much body fluid through a fever, vomiting, or insufficient fluids. Paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) is recommended to control fever and relieve pain. Other supportive measures, such as lukewarm sponge baths, are also recommended to help lower body temperature. It is also important that febrile patients avoid mosquito bites to reduce the risk of further transmission. Mosquitoes that bite the affected family member can bite and infect others.
Otherwise, since most Filipinos have a tendency to self-medicate (which is discouraged) and prefer home care for fear of hospital bills, it is otherwise recommended that you avoid these medications if you have or suspect you may have dengue .
Aspirin is often used to reduce fever and relieve mild to moderate pain associated with normal headaches. Avoid aspirin, aspirin-containing drugs, ibuprofen, naproxen, mefenamic acid, diclofenac, and other similar drugs that belong to the same group called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (usually abbreviated as NSAIDs). They should not be taken as they can increase the risk of bleeding by reducing the ability of the blood to clot. Worse, some of these drugs could be bought over the counter at a pharmacy. Therefore, it is advisable to ask the pharmacist if the drug you are buying is an NSAID.
If symptoms progress to severe dengue fever, it is imperative to see a doctor and seek hospitalization to treat the disease and reduce the death rate.
Don’t use herbal products that don’t have scientific evidence against dengue, as they may contain toxins and are prone to possible interactions with any of their ingredients.
Avoiding mosquito bites is the best way to protect yourself from dengue fever. This can be achieved by wearing protective clothing and using safe and effective insect repellants. Environmental management is also crucial, such as reducing the habitat for mosquitoes.
Protect your family today!
TERESA CAN BANDIOLA
Don’t miss the latest news and information.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4 a.m. and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000