Dengue Fever: Causes, Symptoms, and Testing

Dengue fever is a common illness caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. It can make you sick, but with early detection and proper care, you can recover. In this article, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and testing methods for dengue fever to help you understand and protect yourself from this disease.

What Causes Dengue Fever?

Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus, which is mainly spread through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are most active during the day, and they can be found in both urban and rural areas. When a mosquito carrying the dengue virus bites a person, it can transmit the virus, leading to infection.

Common Symptoms of Dengue Fever

Fever: High fever is a prominent symptom of dengue fever. It often comes on suddenly and can last for several days.

Severe Headache: A pounding headache is another common symptom of dengue. It can be extremely painful.

Joint and Muscle Pain: Dengue can cause severe joint and muscle pain. It’s often referred to as “breakbone fever” due to the intense discomfort it can cause.

Rash: Many people with dengue develop a rash, which can be itchy and appear a few days after the fever starts.

Bleeding: In severe cases, dengue fever can lead to bleeding, including nosebleeds, gum bleeding, and easy bruising.

Mild to Severe Symptoms: Dengue fever can range from mild to severe. Severe cases, known as dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.

Dengue Testing

If you experience the symptoms mentioned above, especially if you live in an area where dengue is common, it’s essential to seek medical attention. Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests to diagnose dengue:

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): This test detects the genetic material of the dengue virus in your blood.

Antibody Tests: These tests look for antibodies produced by your immune system in response to the dengue virus. They include the NS1 antigen test and the IgM and IgG antibody tests.

Complete Blood Count (CBC): A CBC helps assess platelet count, which may drop in dengue patients.

Serology Tests: These tests detect specific antibodies related to dengue in your blood.

Early diagnosis and medical care are crucial to manage dengue fever effectively.

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Preventing Dengue

Preventing dengue involves controlling mosquito populations, using mosquito repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed. These measures can reduce your risk of infection.

In conclusion, dengue fever is a serious illness, but with awareness, prevention, and timely testing, its impact can be minimized. Stay informed, protect yourself, and seek medical attention if you suspect dengue fever. Your health is important, and early detection is key to effective treatment.