Wed | Feb 20, 2019

Heed dengue warning signs - Persons urged to seek medical attention immediately after experiencing symptoms

Published:Saturday | January 19, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie peruses a document on the dengue outbreak in Jamaica.

The Ministry of Health is advising persons to seek medical attention immediately after experiencing symptoms of dengue fever.

Making the call, Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie says that once individuals are infected with the disease, they will encounter "warning signs" of:

- Persistent vomiting

- Abdominal pain

- Tiredness

- Signs of confusion

- Lethargy (weakness)

- Restlessness

"Those are signs of decreased perfusion to the brain. It means that enough fluid is not going to the brain because persons are dehydrated," she said.

Bisasor McKenzie emphasised that dehydration must be treated.

"What is important is to recognise the signs. Many persons are waiting until it is severe dengue and they see signs of bleeding before they go for treatment," the chief medical officer added, noting that this condition can occur without bleeding, so it is important for persons to recognise the warning signs.

 

MILD SYMPTOMS

 

She said that more than 70 per cent of persons who contract the disease experience mild symptoms such as fever and rash over the eye, and in those cases, caution must be exercised with home treatment.

Bisasor McKenzie said persons must take steps to clear mosquito-breeding sites and avoid being bitten by mosquitoes as the infected mosquitoes will also transmit the disease to other family members.

The health ministry is also urging persons not to use aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, or any of the medications or pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs, when used to treat dengue fever, have been known to increase the severity of the disease.

 

ABOUT DENGUE

 

- Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus and is endemic in Jamaica.

- The virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito.

- Symptoms of dengue typically begin three to 14 days after infection. These may include:

- A high fever

- Headache

- Vomiting

- Muscle and joint pains

- Skin rash

Symptoms usually last two to seven days.

 

CLEAN UP AREAS

 

The public is being advised to avoid mosquito bites and to destroy breeding sites in or around the home and communities.

Those sites include:

- Old tyres

- Laundry tanks

- Covered tanks/cisterns

- Drums/barrels

- Discarded buckets and containers

- Pet dishes

- Construction blocks

- Bottles

- Discarded tin cans

- Tree holes and bamboo

- Bottle pieces on top of walls

- Old shoes

- Flowerpots

- Discarded toys

- Roof guttering

- Bromeliad plants

- Garden containers and tools

- Brick holes

- Unmaintained wading/swimming pools.