After Malaria, Dengue has become one of the most common mosquito-borne illnesses in India. Senior citizens, younger children and those with a compromised immune system are highly susceptible to being infected with the Dengue virus. Like most viral diseases, there is no specific medicine or antibiotic to treat Dengue. Hospitalization is essential and the treatment is aimed at alleviating the symptoms. The symptoms of a Dengue fever in kids closely resembles that of a viral infection which is why parents have to be doubly cautious to identify the warning signs and act immediately
If you see rashes on your child’s skin and he/she has fever as well as body ache since the past few days, its best to visit your physician for immediate diagnosis
Here are a few important preventive measures to keep your child away from Dengue fever
- Make sure your kid consumes plenty of water throughout the day as dehydration increases the risk of Dengue fever
- Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus do not breed in stale water but use fresh water stored in flowerpot, cooler, water puddle etc. as their breeding grounds. They are most active during the day therefore limit the amount of time your child spends outdoors, especially in the hours around dawn and dusk.
- Always dress them up in long-sleeved clothing so as to reduce skin exposure. Dark colors attract mosquitoes. Prefer light colored clothes
- Instill the habit of hand washing in kids from an early age and encourage them to eat nutritious home cooked food as compared to roadside snacks
- Use citronella oil-based creams and sprays or other herbal mosquito repellents to minimize the chances of a mosquito bite. Consult your child’s pediatrician before using any mosquito repellent. Oil of leaves from lemon eucalyptus trees is also known to be very effective in keeping mosquitoes away. If possible, install a mosquito net across their bed. Just to be safe, you can also fit mosquito meshes on windows. If there are any gaps, cracks, or holes in the walls, repair it immediately. Keeping a bunch of Neem leaves tied in a cloth at different corners of house is an age-old practice to keep mosquitoes away
- Sweat and humidity also attracts mosquitoes hence make sure that your child’s skin is always clean and dry. Ask kids to take a shower immediately after returning from their play date and pat them dry upon arrival
- It becomes easier for the body to fight any kind of infection if the immunity levels are high. The trick is to include foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients. Make sure your child follows a well-balanced diet
Dengue is preventable as well as controllable but if left untreated, it can create severe medical complications and also trigger Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) which can cause bleeding, liver failure, convulsions and even death. Children who have already been infected by Dengue are inclined to get infected again, thus have to be extra careful to prevent a second attack as it could be more lethal than the first time.
Follow the above mentioned tips to keep your little ones away from this disease