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In the early stages of their life, babies are prone to a variety of illnesses and diseases. Most of them are taken care of by ensuring that their diet is restricted to breastmilk or properly home cooked food, in older babies. But certain natural aspects cannot always be controlled, such as pests and insects. Mosquitoes are the primary suspects of these, finding their way easily into our homes and causing havoc. Not only that, they are responsible for causing a bunch of diseases, which can be quite harmful.
What is Dengue?
A specific variety of mosquitoes carry a virus that is transmitted to human beings when they end up biting them. This virus results in the illness which is termed as dengue. If not treated well, dengue is known to manifest in a severe form, which is quite fatal.
Dengue cases are widely known around the country. For infants that are less than a year old, their chances of contracting dengue and reaching severity are quite high.
What Is Hemorrhagic Dengue Fever?
When dengue is not treated well, it begins to manifest itself in the form of a fever which lasts for about a week or so. During this period, the body undergoes a lot of conditions such as intense bleeding, difficulty breathing properly, feeling of nausea and incessant vomiting. These are together termed as having contracted haemorrhagic dengue fever.
What Causes Dengue and How Does It Spread?
The variant of the mosquito that spreads the dengue virus is termed as the Aedes species. This mosquito has a very specific identity marker, which is, stripes on its body that resemble a tiger. It is also called as female tiger mosquito due to it. Whenever such a mosquito that carries the virus ends up biting a person to drink the blood, it transmits the virus to the person as well.
One of the specific tendencies of these mosquitoes is their affinity for warm and humid climate, which provides them with the ability to breed easily. This is why the onset of monsoons and the multiple puddles of water cause these mosquitoes to breed quickly and result in multiple cases of dengue. Another behaviour to be factored in is their tendency to feed and bite other humans in the daytime. Most of the mosquitoes from other variants get active towards the evening and night and begin biting then.
Dengue is not contagious among human beings since it can infect a person only when a mosquito carrying that virus ends up biting the person.
Symptoms of Dengue in Babies and Toddlers
- The onset of fever that appears suddenly and reaches high temperature very soon.
- The eyes start hurting a lot, especially in the region behind the eyeballs.
- Headaches start occurring frequently which are quite debilitating and severe.
- There is a constant feeling of nausea and dizziness causing discomfort.
- Vomiting becomes frequent and incessant, sometimes even uncontrollable.
- Bodyache begins to increase, which is highly observed in muscles and joints of the body.
- Following the fever, dengue rashes on babies begin to appear in various areas.
- Bleeding occurs through the nose in mild quantities.
- At times, the gums of the babies can also begin to bleed.
How to Deal With Symptoms of Dengue in Infants and Toddlers?
Intensely high temperature, body rashes, body ache, crying and vomiting are all strong signs of an illness, and especially dengue.
- There is no one way to take care of dengue and no specific cure for it as well. There are a number of medications available that help in reducing the fever and nausea, which can consequently assist in taking care of dengue, too.
- In any case, no sort of medication that is meant for taking care of inflammations should be administered on the baby. These could further reduce the platelet count of your baby and result in a condition even severe than before.
- The immediate action to be taken is to bring your baby to the hospital so that treatment procedures can begin as soon as possible.
Diagnosis of Dengue
- One of the first things the doctor will do is to undertake a blood test of the baby. Blood samples will be acquired and will be sent to the lab to check for any infections that can be observed in the blood.
- Another marker for checking if dengue is present or not is noting the number of platelets in the blood. Any person contracting dengue suffers a huge drop in the platelet count that results in extreme weakness in the body as well.
- If your baby has a fever, the temperature of the baby would also be noted. An extremely high temperature that rises very quickly is a strong sign of the presence of dengue.
- Your doctor might ask you to recall how the baby fell ill and when did you first notice the temperature and how quickly did it rise.
- He might also ask you about the surrounding conditions of your home or if you’ve recently travelled any place where the baby was exposed to outside atmosphere or mosquitoes were frequently present.
- If the baby is vomiting a lot, dehydration might occur. The doctor might recommend undertaking certain procedures to ensure this doesn’t cause further complications.
Dengue Fever Treatment for Babies And Toddlers
As mentioned before, there doesn’t yet exist a medication or vaccine in India that can take care of dengue. There are multiple ways to reduce the symptoms, bring relief, and help the body fight the infection.
Taking enough rest is paramount. The body undergoes a lot of stress and it needs the relaxation to be able to recover. Since your baby will be puking a lot, it would be important to ensure that his hydration levels stay normal. The breastfeeding cycles might have to be increased or even supplemented by formula or so. For older babies, different liquid forms of food might be fine. In case your baby refuses to feed or is too weak to swallow food, the doctor might opt for using intravenous nourishment alternatives to keep the electrolytic and hydration levels on point.
In order to combat the fever, acetaminophen is the right drug to be given. Stay away from administering any form of ibuprofen or aspirin. At times, even after the fever goes down, your baby might start vomiting incessantly. This could mean the onset of haemorrhagic dengue fever. Take your baby to the hospital immediately in such cases.
How to Prevent Dengue?
- Mosquitoes that spread dengue breed in fresh and stagnant water. Therefore, it is important to ensure that there is zero presence of any uncovered stored water bodies in your house or in the surroundings close to your home. This includes terraces, gardens, and even your washrooms.
- When taking your baby outside or if your house is usually open, make use of mosquito repellents in the form of mats or vaporisers to keep mosquitoes at bay. Using creams and sprays might also be quite effective.
- Playing around with dirt and mud can make the body attract mosquitoes even more since mosquitoes tend to hover around in moist areas. Advise your kids to stay away from playing such sports, or wash it off immediately.
- Make sure your windows have a permanent mesh or make use of sliding mesh windows such that mosquitoes are prevented from entering inside.
- Let your children opt for clothes that cover their bodies completely.
- Sleeping in beds that have mosquito nets is the best way to have an undisturbed and safe sleep.
Dengue can very quickly cause the health of a baby to deteriorate if left unchecked. By keeping an open eye for signs of dengue in babies and taking action right away, you can keep your baby healthy and opt for preventive measures that can repeat something like this from happening again.