Dear Doc: With the recent dengue scare in my community, I
can’t help but worry about my 3 children. Is there anything
I can do in addition to mosquito nets and screening to keep
them safe? How will I know if they DO get dengue? What
are the first symptoms to look for?
Dengue fever is one of the most common mosquito-borne diseases. The
Aedes aegypti mosquito transmits the dengue virus therefore, control of
breeding sites is essential in reducing the risk of becoming infected. These
mosquitoes like warm, humid weather and breeds where there is stagnant water.
Therefore ensure that after the rain places where water has collected without
any drainage is emptied e.g. flower pots and old tires. In addition to the use of
mosquito nets and screens you can prevent mosquito bites by wearing clothing
that fully covers the skin and the application of insect repellent when outdoors.
Symptoms generally appear 3—14 days after the infective bite. Dengue in
infants and toddlers usually starts with the symptoms of a viral illness which
includes high fever, runny nose, cough and a mild skin rash may be present.
In older children symptom may include, a high fever, pain behind the eyes and
in the joints, backaches and headaches. Please consult with your pediatrician
if your child experiences any of the above symptoms.