Dengue fever is a mosquito borne viral illness. It is spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito which can bite both during the day and at night. This mosquito can bite a person more than once or bite more than one person before finishing its meal. The symptoms of dengue fever usually appear about 5-7 days after the infecting mosquito bite. There is a blood test to diagnose dengue but it is not accurate until almost a week after the symptoms appear. Therefore, anytime you think you have symptoms that might be dengue fever, seek medical attention for an evaluation. In rare cases, ordinary dengue fever can become severe dengue fever (or hemorrhagic dengue fever) which is a serious and potentially life threatening complication.
The symptoms for ADULTS are very obvious:
• High fever (104 Fahrenheit or above)
• Muscle and bone pain
• Sore throat
• A pinpoint red rash may start on the trunk and spread outward
• Small purplish spots (petechiae) may occur on the extremities
• The illness lasts 7-10 days. The fever is almost never more than 7 days in duration
• The temperature may not be as high
• They may be very cranky and irritable
• Vomiting can be more prevalent
Because it is caused by a virus, there is no antibiotic to cure dengue. The treatment is symptomatic - FLUIDS, FLUIDS, FLUIDS rest and Tylenol (acetaminophen, panadol, parcetamol) according topackage instructions for fever and aches. DO NOT use Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), Aspirin, or other NSAIDS (naproxen, Aleve, ketoprofen) if you think you or your child may have dengue. If there is easy and continuous bruising and bleeding, swelling, severe weakness or other signs of severe (hemorrhagic) Dengue Fever, go to the emergency room at once.
There is no vaccine or preventative medication to decrease your chance of getting dengue fever. The best way to avoid getting sick is to prevent or minimize your exposure to mosquito bites.
• Always close un-screened doors and windows tightly
• Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants
• Apply DEET containing mosquito repellent according to label instructions. Use DEET insect repellent liberally, both when indoors and outdoors.
• Ensure screen mesh is intact and small enough to prevent entry of mosquitoes
• Eliminate all breeding sites at residences: Remove all standing water from gardens, drains, gutters and any place in or around the house.
• Use larvacide in outdoor laundry areas, especially if your sink contains water open to the air. A good larvacide is Abate.
• Weekly cleaning of the walls of the laundry area with a mixture of Clorox and detergent
Please forward this to everyone you know living in or visiting Costa Rica!!