6 Things You Might Not Know About DENGUE

English: Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aeg...
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Have you ever had dengue even once in your life? If you’re a person who lives in a tropical country like the Philippines, chances are you already know what it is like to be a Dengue victim. Though the Department of Health has fought Dengue non-stop over the years, it seems that a simple dengue campaign doesn’t have the capability to eradicate dengue cases completely. As a matter of fact, DOH said that some 29,000 cases were reported between 1 January and 10 July 2010, compared to around 22,000 cases during the same period in 2009. And as the summer period in the Philippines heats up, the wrath of Dengue mosquitoes is on its way to wreak havoc once again. But with proper health dissemination and cooperation among local Filipino communities, the battle against Dengue can be as ideal as we desire it to be. Here are six Dengue-related information about that you might not know:

Dengue fever is not fatal..Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever/ Dengue Shock Syndrome is

Dengue fever has a high survival rate as long as it won’t progress to Dengue hemorrhagic fever or worse, Dengue shock syndrome. Dengue is characterized by fever, muscle pains, rash and headache which can last for up to 10 days. Within this time period, sufficient hydration and nutritional support must be done to the victim in order to stop the disease from worsening into Dengue hemorrhagic fever, a complication characterized by blood escaping out of the blood vessel until it finally collapses to bring the most fatal form of the disease called Dengue Shock Syndrome. The progression towards DHF happens 3-5 days of fever. This period is quite confusing because victims usually have lower body temperature before experiencing fatal signs of hemorrhage.

First encounter won’t assure you of immunity from Dengue

There are four serotypes of Dengue virus and getting a single Dengue infection won’t promise a total immunity from this vector-borne disease. Our body produces antibodies but they are not enough to provide us with a complete protection from the different Dengue strains. For this reason, eradication of Dengue-carrying mosquitoes remains to be the best way to prevent subsequent infection.

The more times you get Dengue, the higher your chance of dying

Most fatal cases of Dengue that have been reported were those who got previous infection. During the first Dengue encounter, our body produces antibodies against Dengue which will be activated once another  infection gets in. However, since Dengue virus has four serotypes, the antibodies that were activated previously will now have difficulty detecting the new strains of virus, leading to an immune system that is more vulnerable to complications such as DHF and DSS.

Only female mosquitoes feed on blood

Dengue virus is being spread to humans through bites of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The protein that can be found in human blood is very essential for female mosquitoes because they need it to produce eggs. Their male counterparts, on the other hand, usually rely on plant nectar for their own survival.

Animals can help you reduce the number of mosquitoes

Nature has its own way of fighting of Dengue-carrying mosquitoes that can sometimes be more powerful than simple fumigation. Frogs, water beetles and spiders are some of the animals that eat insects like mosquitoes for their day-to-day survival. Larvivorous fish like the guppy fish and other species small fishes are also known to devour mosquito larvae before it can wreak havoc once they advance to adult phase.

Aspirin is a big no-no

Paracetamol is an over-the-counter drug that is usually given to Dengue patients to decrease both fever and pain sensation. However, there are some drugs that should better stay on our medicine boxes and away from Dengue patients because they can bring more harm than good. Antibiotics obviously won’t work because Dengue, as we all know, is caused by a virus and not by a certain strain of bacteria. Aspirin is an analgesic but is also anticoagulant that’s why giving it to Dengue patients is never recommended. It will only worsen the hemorrhage and lead to deadly Dengue complications.

It is possible to save every Filipino’s life from the dangers of Dengue fever as long as we are willing to cooperate and help in the spreading of information. Environmental sanitation plays a vital role in removing the breeding grounds of mosquito larvae so we have to protect our surroundings as well. Dengue fever is a great equalizer- it affects people regardless of age and social status– so we have to contribute something to stop it from affecting the lives of millions of  Filipinos, including us, for the years to come.

For a detailed information about Dengue fever prevention and management, please feel free to share this Dengue info graphic from WHO: