Dengue Fever: How Serious is it?

Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease, occurs in the tropical and subtropical areas around the globe. If a person suffers from mild dengue fever, then he or she may have a rash, joint pain, and high fever. On the other hand, if we consider the severe cases of dengue fever, i.e. haemorrhagic fever, a person would go through an unexpected drop in blood pressure (shock), severe bleeding, and it may even result in death.

There are endless cases of dengue across the globe every year. It is best possible to prevent the disease by reducing the number of mosquito habitats in places where there is a huge possibility of people contracting dengue fever. Read on to know more about the disease, about dengue fever causes, and how severe it can get.


The symptoms of dengue fever may occur after 4-7 days of being bitten by a mosquito that is infected with the virus. It is also important to take into account the fact that a lot of people, especially teens and children, experience no symptoms or signs during the mild stages of dengue fever.

Apart from causing a high fever of up to 104 F, dengue fever causes symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache, swollen glands, rash, pain behind the eyes, and muscle, joint, and bone pain.


Most patients recover within 7 days or so. However, in certain cases, the symptoms begin to get worse and may turn life-threatening. Plus, the blood vessels become leaky and damaged. Furthermore, the count of clot-forming cells drops in the bloodstream. All these happen in a severe case of dengue fever, known as dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, which is a life-threating emergency. The symptoms include:

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Bleeding nose and gums
  • Blood in your vomit, stools, and urine
  • Rapid or difficult breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Clammy or cold skin
  • Bleeding under the skin (may look similar to bruising)

When to visit a doctor

If you develop symptoms, such as problems in breathing, vomiting, extreme abdominal pain, blood in your stools, vomit, etc., especially after you have visited an area where there is an occurrence of dengue fever, you should visit the closest emergency room.

If you have a fever and have developed milder symptoms that are similar to the ones that occur in dengue fever, you must give your doctor a call. A proper dengue fever treatment will be the need of the hour at such a time.


A severe case of dengue fever can cause heart, liver, and lung damage. Also, as mentioned earlier, the blood pressure could go down to dangerous levels, resulting in shock and sometimes even death.


Make sure you wear protective clothing when you are in a mosquito-infested area, take precautions like wearing long pants, socks, shoes, long sleeves shirts, etc., Plus, make use of a mosquito repellent. Also, make sure that you reduce potential mosquito habitats near your home by cleaning and emptying things that hold standing water.

When does mild dengue fever turn into severe dengue?

Dengue fever can be caused by one of the four kinds of dengue viruses. These viruses are spread by mosquitos that grow in and around human lodgings. If you had dengue fever and have recovered from it, you will have immunity from the virus with which you were infected, but not for the other three virus types. Hence, you will be at the risk of developing severe dengue fever, if you are infected the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time, with the other strains of the virus.

Severe dengue fever treatment requires early detection and correct medical care. It can occur in children as well as adults, where the children are particularly at risk.

After a number of days, generally, 3-7 days after the beginning of the symptoms, you need to be careful. Severe dengue symptoms first come in the form of common symptoms of dengue fever, and the patient could display cautioning signs of severe dengue, coupled with a temperature decrease of below 38 degree Celsius. Symptoms like rapid breathing, persistent vomiting, restlessness, rapid reduction in platelet count, etc. start to show after this time.

Elderly people with multiple comorbidities also have a greater chance of developing severe dengue fever symptoms.

Hence, early detection, with a proper dengue fever treatment plan, is imperative. One should also take proper precautionary measures to prevent dengue fever from happening.

About Lilly McKinlay

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