We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
What is dengue?
Dengue is an illness caused by a virus transmitted to people by certain mosquitoes. It's usually short-lived but symptoms can sometimes be severe or fatal. Dengue is one of a few mosquito-borne illnesses, along with Zika and chikungunya that can be problematic or even dangerous for pregnant women and babies.
Dengue is especially dangerous for pregnant women because they can transmit the virus to their baby during pregncy or during birth. This may result in stillbirth, low birth weight, or premature birth.
Babies infected with dengue are at higher risk for a severe case of the disease. See our article on how to protect your baby from dengue if you are travelling to a place where the illness is common.
Dengue rarely crops up in the United States but is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. It sometimes surfaces in Hawaii (there was a dengue outbreak on the Big Island in 2015-2016) and is common in Puerto Rico and in many popular tourist destinations in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific islands.
Symptoms of dengue
Symptoms commonly include a high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding (usually from the nose or gums).
Some people develop a more severe illness known as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), which can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated promptly.
People who develop DHF may find they get worse after the fever declines. They may have persistent vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing.
How to tell if you have dengue
If you're pregnant and think you're having symptoms of dengue, call your healthcare provider immediately. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can substantially lower the risk of complications.
How dengue is treated
There is no medicine for dengue. Your provider will probably suggest treating the illness in these simple ways:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration.
- Take acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain. (Don't take NSAIDS like ibuprofen or aspirin.)
If you feel worse in the first 24 hours after the fever declines -- for example, you start vomiting or have severe abdominal pain -- go the hospital or ER immediately.
If you develop DHF, you may be hospitalized and given fluid replacement therapy. When diagnosed early, DHF can be effectively treated this way.
How to protect yourself against dengue
There's no vaccine to prevent dengue. When traveling to countries where dengue or other viruses spread by mosquitoes have been reported, take these steps to avoid getting bitten:
- Use insect repellent. (See our article on which insect repellents are safe during pregnancy.)
- Wear loose cotton clothing that covers your arms and legs.
- Stay in places that have air conditioning or have screens on windows and doors.
- See our slideshow: 7 ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes