Is There a Dengue Fever Treatment?

N. Madison

Dengue fever is an infectious disease that can be contracted through a number of viruses carried by mosquitoes; it is most common in tropical regions. Unfortunately for those unlucky enough to contract dengue fever, there is no treatment that will cure it or make it go away faster. Instead, dengue fever treatment focuses on keeping the patient as comfortable as possible. This may involve the use of pain relievers and measures to ensure the patient stays well hydrated and rested. Essentially, doctors treat the symptoms rather than the disease itself. Some rare forms can be life-threatening, but most patients recover within a few weeks.

A sudden, high fever and severe headache are symptoms that may indicate dengue fever.
A sudden, high fever and severe headache are symptoms that may indicate dengue fever.

Dengue fever is a disease that develops as the result of a viral infection. In fact, there is a whole family of viruses capable of causing this disease. An individual contracts the disease after being bitten by a mosquito that is carrying one of these viruses. The striped Aedes aegypti mosquito acquires the virus after biting an already-infected person and then passes it on to the next individual. This disease is not spread from person to person without the bite of a mosquito.

It is important to stay hydrated while recovering from dengue fever.
It is important to stay hydrated while recovering from dengue fever.

Once a person has been bitten by a mosquito that is carrying the disease responsible for dengue fever, he may develop symptoms within as little as three days, though the incubation period can last up to 15 days. Most people develop symptoms within eight days of being bitten. Symptoms begin suddenly and include headache, fever, pain in the lower back, eye pain and redness, and achy joints. An infected person’s temperature tends to rise quickly while his blood pressure usually drops. Additionally, a pinkish rash and swollen lymph nodes may accompany this illness.

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Symptoms of dengue fever may show up within three days of a mosquito bite.
Symptoms of dengue fever may show up within three days of a mosquito bite.

Since there is no dengue fever treatment capable of putting a stop to the illness, the patient simply has to wait for the symptoms to fade on their own, which usually happens after a few days. Then, the patient’s temperature drops, and he begins to sweat excessively. Finally, his temperature returns to normal and he may believe the illness has passed. After about a day of feeling better, however, the patient’s temperature usually climbs once more. A rash often develops, and the person’s palms and bottoms of his feet may swell.

Swollen lymph nodes may accompany dengue fever.
Swollen lymph nodes may accompany dengue fever.

Usually, a person with dengue fever can expect the illness to end after a week or two. He may be weak, however, and may not feel completely normal again until weeks have passed. Despite the fact that there is no specific dengue fever treatment, the illness is rarely fatal.

Dengue fever is transmitted through mosquito bites.
Dengue fever is transmitted through mosquito bites.

Since there is no medication that works as a dengue fever treatment, patients usually just rest and make sure they get plenty of fluids. Doctors typically advise against the use of aspirin, ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers for treating dengue fever symptoms. These drugs can interfere with blood clotting and cause a more serious form of the disease, which is called dengue hemorrhagic fever. Doctors often recommend acetaminophen and codeine instead.

Dengue fever can cause a rash in some people.
Dengue fever can cause a rash in some people.

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