Busting the myths of dengue

Busting the myths of dengue
Highlights

Public Garden Walkers\' Association hosted its 227th monthly health lecture on Sunday at Indira Priyadarshani Auditorium, Public Gardens, Nampally.

Public Garden Walkers' Association hosted its 227th monthly health lecture on Sunday at Indira Priyadarshani Auditorium, Public Gardens, Nampally. Dr Hari Kishan Boorugu, consultant physician, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderguda, delivered the health lecture on the topic ‘Precautions Can Prevent Viral Infections’.
Members of PGWA felicitating Dr Hari Kishan Boorugu (centre)
Dr Hari Kishan said, “The most common health problems we encounter during rainy and winter seasons are viral infections. There are no specific antibiotics or anti viral medication for most of the viral infections and treatment is supportive or symptomatic. Hence it is important to prevent. Simple measures like frequently washing hands, staying away from the infected, using a mask or covering one’s nose or mouth while coughing or sneezing, goes a long way in preventing the spread of viral infections. A few viral infections like influenza can be prevented to some extent by vaccination. A very common viral infection with significant morbidity and mortality in our region in this season is dengue fever and the very name scares many. I hope to clear a few myths surrounding dengue fever.”

Dengue
Dengue fever is a mosquito born infection commonly seen between July-December months in our country. It is not restricted to one country and seen worldwide. It is estimated that 50 million people get affected with dengue fever and many thousands die of it worldwide.

Symptoms
Dengue fever can manifest like any other viral infection like fever, malaise, body pains etc. However a few symptoms are considered characteristic of dengue like pain behind the eye balls, severe backache, rash appearing after fever, nose bleeding, etc. Severe infections can result in drop in blood pressure, low platelet count, breathing difficulty, kidney failure, jaundice etc. Rarely, it can result in death also. Considering the high numbers of people coming down with dengue infection in our area, we often come across patients with severe complications of dengue fever.

Remedies
There is no specific antiviral or antibiotic for dengue fever. Mainstay of treatment is supportive – medications to reduce fever, pain and maintaining adequate hydration, intra venous fluids as required, monitoring blood pressure and watching for complications. Patients require hospitalisation. Blood component therapy (mainly platelet transfusions) are useful to patients with bleeding manifestations. However, every patient with low platelet count does not need platelet transfusion. It is not uncommon to find patients being transfused for low platelet counts without bleeding manifestations which is not a recommended practice. Platelets can only be obtained from a donor’s blood hence it is precious and also expensive.

Prevention
“There is no effective vaccine against dengue. Prevention is the only way. Transmission of dengue infection can only be prevented by eliminating mosquito breeding. Clean surroundings and avoiding water logging should be undertaken. Mosquito larvae can be killed at breeding sites by spraying DDT. One can prevent mosquito bites by wearing clothes with full sleeves, apply mosquito repellent cream when being outdoors and by using bed nets while sleeping,” concluded the doctor.

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