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  • According to World Health Organization (WHO), dengue is regarded as the fastest spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. Dengue causes flu-like symptoms that lasts for two to seven days. The fever normally happens after an incubation period of four to 10 days from the day the mosquito (the Aedes mosquito carries the virus) bites the victim.

    Primary symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, severe headache (with the pain mostly in the forehead). Your child may also feel pain behind the eyes, which worsens with eye movement. In children, diarrhea and rashes are usually evident. Body aches and joint pains and nausea or vomiting are the other symptoms. A bleeding nose and gums are usually signs of a severe disease.

    WHO also notes that children whose age are from 1 to 10 years old are the most commonly affected by dengue. 

    We all know that to prevent these mosquitos from breeding is to remove any stagnant water around the house. The adult Aedes mosquitoes also thrive in dark places.

    There is still a lot of misleading information about dengue that circulates from household to household. These pose more harm to the health of our family especially our children. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about dengue that we need to stop believing.

    Misconception: Having dengue once means you won't be infected again

    Fact: Dengue virus has four different serotypes—or a distinct variation. After a person recovers from an infection with one dengue serotype, a person has immunity against that particular serotype for a lifetime. For the other serotypes, there's only a temporary immunity of two to three months. Thus, after that short period, a person can be infected with any of the remaining three dengue serotypes. 

    Misconception: Dengue virus can be transmitted via cough, close contact, and body fluid with the the infected person

    Fact: You can only be infected with dengue through a bite of female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito, which carry the virus. 

    Misconception: Aedes mosquito carrying dengue virus only breed in dirty stagnant water

    Fact: It doesn't matter whether the water is clean or dirty. As long as it's stagnant water, dengue-carrying mosquitos can breed eggs there. So do the 4 o'clock habit where you go around the house and look for places where there could be stagnant water pools: flower vases, drainage, rain barrels and water buckets of any water.

    Misconception: Dengue occurs during the dry season particularly and not during the rainy season

    Fact: Aedes mosquitoes multiply fast and live well in tropical and subtropical regions all over the world. In fact, based on the studies of entomologists and epidemiologists, these mosquitoes mainly dwell in countries where winter temperature is no colder than 10°C and can breed above 16°C. So, in a tropical country like the Philippines, dengue doesn't choose which season to spread. It occurs all year round.

    Misconception: Drinking papaya leaves juice, tawa-tawa juice, sweet potato tops tea, and goat's milk can increase blood platelet count

    Fact: The plant extracts mentioned have been accounted by a lot of dengue patients and their family members to have normalized their platelet count and cool down their dengue-associated fever. While these plants can normalize body temperature and serve as good source of hydration, which is a must for a dengue patient, there isn't enough clinical studies about these plants and goat's milk to prove that they can increase platelets in the blood.

    Misconception: Aedes aegypti is the sole culprit of dengue

    Fact: It has been found by entomologists and epidemiologists that the itchy and annoying bite of an infected female mosquito can spread dengue as well as chikungunya or Zika viruses. Aedes aegypti originated from Africa while Aedes albopictus is from Asia hence it is commonly known as Asian tiger mosquito. The distinct feature of Aedes aegypti is its white lyre-shaped markings and banded legs. The Aedes albopictus on the other hand, is its white dorsal stripe and banded legs.

    Misconception: Low blood platelet count means severe dengue

    Fact: Low blood platelet count alone cannot be attributed to severe dengue. When suspected of severe dengue, the critical phase takes place around 3-7 days after the first sign of illness. Signs of severe dengue are: sudden drop of body temperature (doesn't necessarily mean the patient is recovering), bleeding gums, severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, vomiting blood, fatigue/ restlessness and rapid breathing. Should all these symptoms be present, the patient must seek a doctor immediately.

    Misconception: Skin rashes is the first sign of dengue

    Fact: Having skin rashes or patches is not the first sign of dengue. It is the sudden onset of fever with temperatures between 39.5 - 41.4°C that is the first manifestation. This is accompanied by severe headache in the back portion of the eyes and front of the head along with joint pain specifically in the elbows and knees. Skin rashes are secondary symptoms and does not occur in all dengue patients.

    Misconception: There are anti-dengue drugs available for treating dengue

    Fact: There is no specific anti-viral medication available yet for dengue treatment. Bed rest and mild analgesic-antipyretic therapy are often helpful in relieving weakness, restlessness, and fever associated with the disease. You can prevent it, however, with a dengue vaccine, recommended for people ages 9 to 45 years old.

    Misconception: Pain relievers can cure dengue and its symptoms

    Fact: Pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen must be avoided by dengue patients. These drugs do not alleviate dengue symptoms, but lead to a greater tendency of bleeding and gastritis in children. Paracetamol/acetaminophen, an antipyretic, is the only recommended medicine for dengue patients by WHO. Paracetamol is used in dengue infections to relieve pain and lower temperature when fever is thought to contribute to patient’s discomfort.

    The fight against dengue can be accomplished through sharing the right information. And in choosing the right partner for dengue fever management for moms out there Calpol (Paracetamol) is clinically proven to be very effective for relieving fever and pain in children. Calpol is an alcohol-free suspension with paracetamol so it is very gentle on young tummies and can be administered to a child even without food intake.

    Kids will love Calpol as it comes in fruity flavors: orange for Calpol 0-2 years old drops and orange and strawberry for suspensions for 6-12 years old. Moms, you now don't have to worry about getting your children take their medicines because with your bestie, Calpol, you can guarantee fast and effective relief of your kids' fever and pain.

     

    Sources: 

    Dengue Fever

    World Health Organization

    Mayoclinic

    Scitable by Nature Education

    Medscape

    Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention

     

This article was created by Summit StoryLabs in partnership with Paracetamol (Calpol).
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