Along with the concurrent rise of Covid-19 infections, Dengue fever is another illness that we have to look out for. Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus that is transmitted through the bites of the infected Aedes mosquito. Dengue fever is not contagious, but the Aedes mosquito is a carrier of the virus and transfers this illness from one person to another as it bites its next victim.
The current number of year-to-date dengue cases for 2020 is 23,800 in Singapore, a marked rise compared to the statistics from previous years. This is a worrisome trend as dengue is something that cannot be treated, but only prevented. Furthermore, as medical attention is being turned to Covid-19, the healthcare system has to take care of not one but two major illnesses that have arisen for 2020.
In fact, there are several known clusters of dengue cases throughout the island, which indicates an area where there has been targeted intervention on active transmissions. It is formed when there are two or more cases occurring within 14 days and are located within 150m of each other. The clusters are categorised according to their current status - high risk with more than 10 cases (red), high risk with less than 10 cases (yellow) and no new cases (green).
As such, dengue cases are being carefully monitored to keep the numbers done. However, it’s always important to know the facts about dengue so that we can all help to prevent further cases from happening.
Symptoms of Dengue Fever
As the Aedes mosquito is a carrier, the dengue virus has an incubation period of 3 to 7 days, but it can last up to 14 days.
Thus as the symptoms only arise after a few days, it may be difficult to track when and where you have gotten bitten.
The most common symptoms of dengue are:
- Sudden onset of fever for two to seven days
- Severe headache with pain behind the eyes
- Joint and muscle pain
- Skin rashes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bleeding from the nose or gums or easy bruising of the skin
- Rashes resembling those of measles
It’s likely that after 3 or 4 days, you may tend to feel a little better, but from then on, the symptoms intensify: you are going to suffer from conjunctival hemorrhages, nose bleeds and even ecchymosis but will disappear rapidly after a week.
The whole healing process takes about 2 weeks. Dengue fever weakens you, however it is not as severe as Dengue hemorrhagic fever, which could result in death.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever may require emergency treatment and hospitalisation, as several hemorrhages can occur in your body. Some of the symptoms of severe dengue are persistent fever, constant vomiting, including blood, spots or patches on the skin, dark stools, skin that is pale, moist or cold and difficulties in breathing.
Is Dengue Infectious?
No, dengue is not infectious. You can only be infected by dengue if an infected Aedes female mosquito bites you. The Aedes mosquito has to be infected when biting an already infected person before it can transmit the virus.
However, you can be affected by different strains of the dengue virus more than once. So far, there are 4 strains of dengue - DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4.
Is there a Peak Season of Dengue fever?
The peak season for dengue usually ranges from June to October, where Singapore and the surrounding regional countries also see an uptick in dengue cases in the year.
Treatment of Dengue
Currently, there is no treatment of dengue. All treatment for dengue is supportive. For example, if dengue fever is severe, you may require aggressive emergency treatment with fluid and electrolyte replacement or blood transfusions.
Prevention of Dengue
In most cases, the focus is on the prevention of dengue.Since there is no proper vaccination or other treatment of dengue, the prevention of dengue becomes all the more important. You can follow these tips to guard against dengue fever, based on the National Environment Agency’s SAW guidelines - Spray, Apply and Wear.
Spray insecticide in dark areas of the house
As mosquitoes tend to hide in dark areas, spraying insecticides in these areas of the house can help to kill the mosquitoes.
Apply Insect repellent
The best way to deter mozzies from biting you is to use insect repellent regularly, especially when you head out of the house. We recommend our Nature’s Glory mFree Insect Repellent that uses only natural ingredients like organic lemongrass oil to prevent mosquito bites. Spray liberally on your skin or clothing before going out.
Wear long sleeve and pants
By wearing long sleeve tops and pants, you can lower the possibility of being bitten by mosquitoes.
Other prevention measures include:
Remove stagnant water
To prevent Aedes mosquitoes from breeding, it is pertinent to remove any areas of stagnant water where they could lay eggs. Some places that are often overlooked are gutters, plant pot plates, bamboo pole holders, vases with flowers, and buckets that should be overturned.
Avoid the outdoors during dusk and dawn when there is more frequent mosquito activity.
Another way to avoid mosquitoes is not to be outdoors during the sunrise and sunset times. If you do have to be outdoors, wear long sleeve clothes and spray insect repellent to prevent bites.
Use Mosquito Netting and Screens
For home use, you can install mosquito screens on your windows and doors, so that you can still allow air through, but not the pesky mosquitoes. Similarly, you can sleep with a mosquito netting over your bed to prevent bites at night as well.
What Should You Do If You Think You Have Dengue?
You should go to see your doctor immediately.
Dengue fever can be confirmed by a quick blood test, and it would help to ascertain next steps for the rest of your household and for the public health surveillance system.
Even though there is no treatment for dengue, here are some tips on what to do if you have been infected:
You should get as much rest as possible and keep yourself hydrated. In fact, we’ve even created our Dengue Care Pack to help alleviate some of the symptoms of dengue fever. It includes our mFree insect repellent, miracle grass oil, Claymin powder and aloe vera Juice concentrate drink. Each of these has a specific purpose to help soothe itches and swelling, detoxify your blood and reduce pain and inflammation.
All in all, dengue fever can be serious. Your symptoms may range from mild to severe, but the best way forward is through prevention and taking care of your health first. Keeping up a strong immune system through the intake of nutritious organic food and food-based supplements, exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle should always be your number one goal.