Dengue in Children: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Jun 04, 2019

Did you know? Since the mid-'90s, the prevalence of dengue has increased in India at an alarming rate. As per a report by WHO, dengue in children is a leading cause of serious illness and death. Let's learn more about dengue symptoms, its causes, and treatments.

What Is Dengue?

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease and quite a threatening condition. Dengue fever usually causes skin rash and pain. It is also commonly known as "break-bone fever" or "dandy fever" as it causes unusual severe muscle and joint pains. In severe cases, it can also cause repeated vomiting, intense stomach pain, bleeding from the nose or gums, and death. Dengue in children is most prevalent who are less than 15 years of age.

What Are the Causes of Dengue in Children?

Dengue is caused by the female Aedes aegypti mosquito. It cannot be directly transmitted from person to person. Instead, it is transmittable when this mosquito bites an infected person. People who are bitten by the same mosquito afterward happen to contract this disease.

Dengue Symptoms and Signs

On average, dengue symptoms are visible after 3 to 10 day incubation period. Children often experience dengue symptoms similar to common cold together with vomiting and diarrhea. However, the sudden onset of fever can be a clear sign of dengue in children. Other common dengue symptoms are:
  • dehydration
  • a severe headache
  • loss of appetite
  • cry more than usual
  • irritable and fussy
  • sleepy and agitated
  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • eyes pain
  • abdominal pain
  • difficulty in breathing
  • itching on the soles of the feet
  • nausea as well as vomiting
Babies and young children can also have rashes along with fever. On the other hand, older children may experience severe back pain as well. In some cases, minor bleeding is also seen, for example, bleeding from gums.

What Precautions Can Be Taken?

Since there is no certain treatment for dengue, these protective measures can help in preventing dengue.
  • Always keep the garbage bin covered.
  • Keeping surroundings clean and hygienic also avoids mosquito breeding.
  • Clean away all the stagnant water, accumulated in flower pots, cooler tanks or puddles at home. The dengue mosquitoes breed in this type of water.
  • Make sure the child is wearing long-sleeved clothing and trousers. Avoid exposed skin.
  • Use mosquito nets while the child is sleeping even for daytime naps.
  • Make the child wear light-colored clothes as dark color clothes attract mosquitoes.
  • Use mosquito repellent cream such as odomos to prevent them while they are playing out.
  • It is also preferable to close windows and doors before evening.

Is There Any Effective Treatment for Dengue?

As there is no certain cure, at best, some measures and medications can be provided to ease pain and discomfort. Moreover, in this case, there is no vaccination against the fever. Dengue has four strains namely DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4. It is only possible that after contracting one strain a child builds immunity to it. However, they are not immune to the other three strains. Therefore, the later infection and symptoms are much more severe.
  • For moderate dengue, mainly home remedies and ample of rest is advised. Medications like acetaminophen can be taken to relieve pain and reduce fever. However, medicines should only be taken if prescribed by the doctor.
  • For severe dengue, hospitalization is essential to keep track of blood platelets.

Home Remedies for Dengue

While there are no particular medications available for dengue, these effective remedies can relieve dengue symptoms.
  • Boiling neem leaves and then drinking the resulting brew helps in increasing blood platelet count and white blood cell count. In fact, neem leaves boost the immune system and help in faster recovery.
  • Full of antioxidants and vitamins, orange juice is another remedy to treat secondary symptoms of dengue. Besides eliminating the virus, it also promotes antibodies of the immune system, releases the toxins, and stimulates cellular repair.
  • Chewing basil leaves helps in soothing dengue symptoms and fever. Basil contains an essential oil that is rich in natural insecticidal properties. It helps protect both children and adult from mosquitoes, making itself a preventative strategy.
  • Another effective home remedy for treating dengue is pomegranate juice. Make a glass of fresh pomegranate juice and give it to the child. Its juice helps in boosting blood platelet counts.
  • In addition to liquids and other nutrients, protein consumption is also necessary for children. It is because the body loses strength while combating dengue fever. Proteins in liquid or solid form help in replenishing the loss.
  • Other than this, the consumption of coconut water also helps to treat dengue symptoms. Its high nutritional value hydrates the body and provides the necessary vitamins to the body.
  • Banana is one fruit with a number of benefits. Give the child a banana on a daily basis to help them regain the level of energy.
  • For centuries, it is known that vitamin C and immunity go hand in hand. Therefore, make sure the child is getting enough of vitamin C. Moreover, consumption of red peppers, oranges, tomatoes, sprouts, strawberries, etc., is also equally beneficial.

When to Consult A Doctor

A moderate type of dengue goes away after a week or two. If a child's condition worsens a day or two after dengue symptoms go away, consult a doctor.

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