Tropical Paradise or Dengue Trap

by Garreth Myers

Dengue is the most common viral infection that is transmitted to humans via mosquitoes. Symptoms like that of the flu, with fluctuating fever, headaches, muscle and joint pains, and a rash usually develops with bright red spots. is a viral infection endemic to certain parts of the world. While it may not be commonplace around here, the condition is particularly prevalent in tropical and subtropical parts of the world like Central & South America, Africa and Asia. There have also been sporadic reports of Dengue outbreaks in Australia, particularly in the northern regions of Queensland. Travelers are always at a high risk, but the dangers are heightened considerably when there is an epidemic raging. Travelers engaged in welfare work with missionaries or NGOs and those travailing for longer durations are at a higher risk as compared to others.

As with malaria, the transmission occurs through the bite of an infected female mosquito. The infection is of a viral nature and there are in fact four specific strains of the dengue virus. Having suffered an infection once does not offer you any immunity against the other strains. This is one of the main reasons why dengue can be so deadly. Contracting the infection more than once increases the risk of the condition progressing to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.  Resulting complications can impair functioning of the circulatory system, lead to shock and may even be fatal.

Warning Signs: If you must travel to an outbreak stricken region be prepared to fend off the mosquitoes. Dengue
fever is the most common viral infection to be transmitted to humans via mosquitoes. The onset of the infection is characterized by symptoms like that of the flu, with fluctuating fever, headaches, muscle and joint pains, and a rash usually develops with bright red spots.

As mentioned earlier, re-infections are a lot more serious and could cause complications. If you notice any of these symptoms seek immediate medical help:
  • Severe vomiting & stomach pain
  • Nose bleeds or bleeding gums
  • The presence of blood in vomit or stools
  • Breathlessness
  • Cold or clammy skin
Taking Action: Unfortunately, as yet there is no vaccine that can help prevent dengue, as clinical trials have been disappointing. The only preventive steps that you can take would be to avoid exposure to mosquitoes altogether. Here are some tips to help lower the risk of picking up the infection:
  • Accommodation: Don’t cut costs on lodging. Make sure the hotels you pick are well screened and air conditioned.
  • Repellants: As per the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, repellants containing any of these ingredients should be effective enough – DEET, Oil of Lemon or Eucalyptus/PMD or picaridin.
  • Adhere to Guidelines: Follow the instructions carefully. This isn’t your everyday moisturizer we’re dealing with! In the sweltering heat of the tropics, you’re most likely going to need a sunscreen. Just make sure you apply it to your skin before you use the insect repellent.
  • Cover-up: Try not to venture outdoors once it gets dark and always make sure you are completely covered whenever you’re outside. In addition to wearing long sleeved shirts and full length trousers you can also spray your clothes with a mosquito repellent.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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