Fatal Bites | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 31, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 31, 2015

AN APPLE A DAY

Fatal Bites

It is that time of the year again- hot, sunny and humid mornings turning into showers of rain for the rest of the day. Along with that comes the swarm of mosquitoes everywhere we go while we're terrified of what one bite will do to us. One of the scariest things a mosquito can do is give us dengue fever.

Dengue fever is a painful, devastating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of the four closely related dengue viruses. An estimated 100 million cases of dengue fever occur worldwide every year, and Southeast Asia, where Bangladesh falls, is one of the tropical areas with greatest risk of dengue.

Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with the dengue virus. The mosquito is infected when it bites someone with the dengue virus in their blood. The disease cannot be transmitted through person-to-person contact.

Sometimes the symptoms are mild and can be mistaken for those of the flu or another viral infection, which are also very common during this season in our country making it evermore confusing. However, very serious problems can develop, if it is overlooked. One very serious problem can be dengue hemorrhagic fever- a rare complication characterised by high fever, damage to lymph and blood vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, enlargement of the liver, and failure of the circulatory system. The symptoms may progress to massive bleeding, shock, and death. This is called dengue shock syndrome (DSS). People with weakened immune systems as well as those with a second or subsequent dengue infection are believed to be at high risk for developing dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Sadly, there is no real prevention from dengue fever except for avoiding mosquito bites. On top of that, if the symptoms match and fever persists for more than three days, instead of diagnosing yourself with a flu or common viral infections, it's best to go to a doctor immediately for check-up.

In a country where there are more mosquitoes than any other living thing, it is difficult to constantly be cautious of their bites. We go to sleep with the buzzing of mosquitoes and wake up with them too. But mosquito repelling ointments, coils, sprays and nets are our only hope and we need to make use of them as much as possible to avoid being attacked.  Keep your homes as mosquito-free as possible to ensure that you and your family are safe from this horrid sickness.

Symptoms, which usually begin four to six days after infection and last for up to 10 days, may include:
* Sudden, high fever
* Severe headaches
* Pain behind the eyes
* Severe joint and muscle pain
* Nausea
* Vomiting
* Skin rash, which appears three to four days after the onset of fever
* Mild bleeding (such a nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)

To protect yourself
* Stay away from heavily populated residential areas, if possible.
* Use mosquito repellents, even indoors.
* When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks.
* Make sure window and door screens are secure and free of holes. If sleeping areas are not screened or air conditioned, use mosquito nets.
* If you have symptoms of dengue, speak to your doctor immediately.

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