Elderly with co-morbidities most vulnerable to severe dengue, says Dr Bhutani

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Updated: November 20, 2020 2:50 PM

Patients should monitor they platelet count daily and if it drops to 10, 000 or less should consult a doctor.

Dengue symptoms, flu symptoms, cold symptoms, dengue fever, dengue vulnerable age, covid complications, effects of pollution on covidDengue causing Aedes mosquito bites during daytime, especially early morning before dawn and in the late afternoon before the sunsets. (IE Image)

During the time of COVID-19 pandemic, differentiating between the symptoms of dengue, the common flu, cold that are common in the winters is difficult. The elderly with co-morbidities like Covid-19 are more likely to develop severe symptoms. Dr Vikas Bhutani, an internal medicine specialist in an interview with IE, throws light on the rising number of dengue cases in Chandigarh, how to compare the symptoms and take measures to catch none of the conditions.

Symptoms of dengue and vulnerable age group

The most prevalent symptom of dengue is high fever and additional symptoms are rashes, body ache, headache, eye strain, nausea, or drastic drop in platelet count with bleeding from any part of the body. There is no specific medication for dengue, the only treatment is rest and drinking fluids with electrolytes to flush toxins and stay hydrated. Doctors prescribe acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) to control body temperature and pain.

Patients should monitor they platelet count daily and if it drops to 10, 000 or less should consult a doctor. Symptoms of dengue in mild or moderate cases stay from two days to one week. But one in 20 cases develops severe dengue that needs hospitalisation. The severe symptoms develop 24 to 48 hours after the fever has gone away. If the patients start vomiting blood or find blood in stool, bleeds from gum or nose, vomits three times a day, has belly pain and feels tired and restless, contact the emergency room.

All age groups can get dengue infection but people belonging to older age groups with com morbidities are more likely to get severe dengue tells Dr Bhutani to IE.

Prevention of dengue

Dengue causing Aedes mosquito bites during daytime, especially early morning before dawn and in the late afternoon before the sunsets. So wear adequate clothing these times of the day that covers all parts of the body or use mosquito repellent ointments on the exposed part of the skin. Use mosquito nets during sleeping and keep unscreened doors and windows closed to not let mosquitoes enter indoors.

The other way of preventing dengue is restricting is breed. Aedes aegypti, the vector mosquito, multiplies in stores water left unattended in man-made containers like flower vases, earthen jars, concrete cisterns or water drums and other places where fresh rainwater gets collected like discarded containers, gully traps or choked roof gutters. Such sites need to be cleaned regularly and required proper maintenance to prevent the breeding of the vector mosquito.

Keeping containers with water covered or by adding kerosene oil to water helps in prevention of the egg-laying female mosquitoes to find the breeding ground. Civil authorities should also resort to the application of insecticide sprays, or DDT as emergency control measures during outbreaks.

Platelet drop after fever subsides

Often in dengue, platelets count drop till one week after the start of fever or even after the fever subsides. Fever settles is. Three to five days but platelet counts can drop to further low till the seventh day. It is important to monitor platelet count until it starts rising, even after the fever has subsided, advises Dr Bhutani.

Rising pollution and Covid-19

Covid-19 causes shortness of breath and increasing pollution in the air can aggravate the symptoms by causing dry cough with breathlessness, said Dr Bhutani

Distinguishing between common cold, flu and Covid-19

Fever is a common and early symptom of cold, flu and Covid-19. Fatigue is occasional in cold and Covid but common in the flue. Sneezing is common in cold but not so in flu and Covid. Watery eyes are common in cold and flu but not in Covid. Sore throat is o

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