Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever
Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the dengue virus, primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. DHF is a severe form of dengue fever, which is caused by one of the four closely related dengue viruses (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4). The virus has a predilection for human hosts and is transmitted when a mosquito carrying the virus bites a person. DHF can affect individuals of all ages, and its prevalence has been on the rise, making it a critical public health issue. This ailment is a significant global health concern, especially in tropical and subtropical regions, where the Aedes mosquito thrives.
The symptoms of DHF are often similar to those of dengue fever but tend to be more severe. Common signs and symptoms includes –
• High fever
• Severe headaches
• Pain behind the eyes
• Joint and muscle pain
• Mild bleeding
However, DHF can progress rapidly, leading to more severe complications.
The root cause of Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) is the dengue virus, which belongs to the Flaviviridae family. When a mosquito carrying the virus bites a person, the virus is introduced into the bloodstream, where it begins to replicate. This replication leads to an overwhelming viral load, causing the immune system to respond in a manner that can lead to DHF.
Risk Factors –
Several factors increase the risk of developing DHF:
• Previous Dengue Infection: Individuals who have previously been infected with one strain of the dengue virus are at a higher risk of developing DHF if they contract a different strain.
• Age: Children and older adults are more vulnerable to severe forms of DHF.
• Immune Response: The strength and type of immune response to the virus can influence the severity of the disease.
• Mosquito Exposure: Living in or visiting areas with a high mosquito population and inadequate mosquito control measures increases the risk of infection.
DHF can lead to life-threatening complications, especially if not promptly treated. Some of the potential complications include:
• Severe Bleeding: Hemorrhaging from the nose, gums, or gastrointestinal tract can occur.
• Organ Damage: The virus can affect the liver, heart, and other vital organs.
• Shock: Severe cases can lead to dengue shock syndrome (DSS), a state of shock where blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels.
The diagnosis of DHF can be challenging due to its initial similarity to other viral illnesses. Healthcare providers typically use a combination of clinical evaluation, blood tests, and a patient’s medical history to make a diagnosis. The presence of low platelet counts, hemoconcentration, and other specific laboratory findings can help confirm DHF.
Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment for DHF. Management primarily involves supportive care, including:
• Fluid Replacement: Adequate hydration is crucial to maintain blood pressure and prevent shock.
• Pain and Fever Control: Medications like acetaminophen can help alleviate pain and reduce fever.
• Close Monitoring: Frequent monitoring of vital signs and laboratory parameters is essential to detect complications early.
Prevention plays a pivotal role in reducing the burden of DHF. It includes:
• Mosquito Control: Eliminating breeding sites and using mosquito nets or repellents.
• Vaccination: Several vaccines are in development to protect against dengue.
• Community Awareness: Educating individuals about the risks and preventive measures.
Ayurvedic Treatment –
For severe dengue symptoms, including shock and coma, early and aggressive emergency treatment with fluid and electrolyte replacement can be lifesaving. Some treatment options that may enhance the curing of classical dengue fever are listed:
1) Mix 360 mg of Shunthi Churna with 125 mg of Hinguleshwar Ras and now take this mixture at least 4 times daily, you may take with tea or hot water. If case the temperature of the patient rises beyond 104°F (40°C), then you may apply cold pad, on the forehead till the temperature subsides.
2) Another ayurvedic medicine used for treatment of dengue fever is tulsi (holy basil). Medicinal properties of tulsi are very useful in ayurvedic therapy. The leaves of tulsi are used to produce soothing effect on the nervous system. Tulsi leaves strengthen the stomach and induce copious perspiration.
3) Amrutharistam, Amruthottaram kashayam, Sudarsanam gulika, Pachanamrutham kashayam can be given for treatment.
In conclusion, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease caused by the dengue virus. Its symptoms can range from mild to severe, and it poses a substantial risk to populations in endemic areas. Early diagnosis and supportive care are crucial in managing DHF, but prevention remains the most effective strategy in combatting this silent menace. Public health efforts and ongoing research to develop effective vaccines are essential in reducing the global impact of DHF.
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