Though our weather seems deceiving – from blazing hot to raging showers – there is no doubt that the rainy season is upon us. That’s both good and bad. Good, because finally we get rainy intervals from the scorching heat of the sun. Bad, because the rainy season will fill catch basins and other containers with standing water. Standing water = dengue mosquito breeding spots. More breeding spots mean more dengue mosquitoes, and therefore a higher risk of getting infected – bad indeed.
“Dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. In the last 50 years, incidence has increased 30-fold with increasing geographic expansion to new countries and, in the present decade, from urban to rural settings ….” – World Health Organization
If you’re wondering whether or not you should self-medicate with medicine for fever or bring yourself to the hospital to check if you’ve been infected, confirm first if you have these symptoms:
The symptoms of dengue usually manifest 4-10 days after they have been bitten by an infected mosquito. Fever of course is the most obvious symptom – it is usually coupled with a severe headache and lasts for 3-5 days.
Most people also experience severe pain that seems to be radiating from behind the eyes. There are plenty of conditions that can cause eye pain, but it is common when you have the flu or a very high fever.
Did you know that the Swahili called this disease “Ka-dinga pepo”, meaning a “seizure caused by an evil spirit”? It is said that the term “dengue” was derived from the Swahili “dinga”, but it is not clear.
Another famous alternate name of dengue fever is ‘break bone fever’. The first confirmed case dates way back 1789, which was reported by Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Rush was present during the outbreak in Philadelphia and saw that those who were afflicted by the disease were experiencing a searing pain in their muscles, bones and joints – hence “break bone fever”.
If you are experiencing severe muscle and joint pain, along with fever and pain behind the eyes, you should seek medical attention immediately.
A few days after the fever symptom surfaces, your temperature usually stabilizes for a few hours to a few days. During this time, in at least 50-80% of patients, a skin rash appears. The rashes usually show on the hands and feet first, and then spread to the rest of the body. When you start to see these rashes, it is wise to bring yourself to the hospital immediately and ask the nurses to perform a tourniquet test… or just ask to be diagnosed for dengue.
Dengue is a global concern, and has been announced as a year-long phenomenon. Even with preventive measures in place, everyone still carries the risk of being infected. If you’ve been nursing a fever for a couple of days now and you’re starting to get paranoid, then check to see if you were positive of the symptoms mentioned – because if you are, you better get yourself some medical attention.