Everything You Need to Know About Dengue: Symptoms, Treatment, Cost, and Protection
Dengue fever has always been a menace to society, even coming out as the most common mosquito-borne disease in the country–especially now that itâ€™s the rainy season and dengue cases are potentially on the rise.
In 2019, the disease was declared a national epidemic after tallying more than 146,000 cases, 622 of which died helplessly. This year, roughly 30,000 cases were reported in the Philippines with 119 fatalities as of the second quarter of the year only.
To say that Dengue fever has brought many to worry would be an understatement. But in order to stop it, one must first know what it is and its cause.
What is Dengue and where does it come from?
According to National Geographic, there are about 3,000 species of mosquitoes, and the three species known to carry deadly diseases are Anopheles known to carry malaria, Culex mosquitoes that are responsible for encephalitis, filariasis, and the West Nile virus, and the Aedes known to transmit yellow fever encephalitis, and dengue. From the Aedes species comes the virus (DENV) that causes dengue fever, which is from the Flaviviridae family.
DENV has four closely linked stereotypes of the virus namely DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4. This means that a person can get infected on four different occasions, depending on the viral infection. Say itâ€™s true that when a person recovers from dengue, it provides lifelong immunity against the type of virus that infected the person, it is still possible for reinfection from the other types of viruses. Whatâ€™s alarming is that once reinfection occurs, it may develop into a severe dengue case.
How can I identify dengue symptoms?
Dengue fever can be mild or severe and it can sometimes get confused with other sicknesses due to the similarities in symptoms. For a clear guide, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified the symptoms of dengue to usually last between 2-7 days. The most common symptom is fever, and other symptoms are nausea, vomiting, rash, aches, headache, and pains such as joint pains, bone pains, even eye pain specifically behind the eyes.
For severe dengue, it is advised to look for warning signs in the next 24-48 hours after the fever has gone. This includes symptoms like belly pain, vomiting at least 3 times within 24 hours, bleeding nose or gums, vomiting blood, blood in the stool, lethargy, and restlessness.
If these warning signs are present, medical care is needed as soon as possible. When not managed properly, severe dengue may cause complications or worse, may lead to death. In fact, severe dengue is a leading cause of death in some Asian countries.
What is needed for dengue treatment?
There is no particular medicine to cure dengue, the best way to prevent it is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. But for existing cases, here are some of the treatments:
Fever and vomiting can cause dehydration, so it is important to drink water and other fluids. To treat fever and pain, painkillers like Tylenol or paracetamol can be taken.
For severe cases that need medical care, intravenous (IV) fluid is given if the person is having difficulty taking fluids. For those who are suffering from severe dehydration, it is advisable for the person to have a blood transfusion. This, however, must be done in the presence of a healthcare professional. Unsupervised procedures may cause further hitches.
How to avoid getting infected with the dengue virus?
To avoid dengue fever, the Department of Health (DOH) reminds the public to do the 4-S against dengue.
- Search and destroy mosquito-breeding sites.
- Secure self-protection measures like using mosquito repellents and wearing long sleeves and pants.
- Seek early consultation, and
- Support fogging on the hotspot areas where there is a record of increase in cases for two weeks to prevent outbreak.
In regard to the use of insect repellent, CDC encourages the use of environmental protection agency (EPA) registered insect repellents as the higher percentages of active ingredients provide longer protection. In the ingredients, make sure to look for DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), Para-menthane-diol (PMD), and 2-undecanone.
However, children under 3 years old, do not use repellents containing oil of lemon (OLE) or Para-menthane-diol (PMD).
Apply and reapply insect repellent according to instruction and depending on current location.
In addition to that, since there is no vaccine yet against dengue to protect ourselves, Medical News Today also suggests:
- To use mosquito traps and nets, and if possible, nets with insecticide.
- Have door and window screens to keep mosquitoes out.
- Avoid heavily scented soaps and perfumes, as the smell entices mosquitoes.
- Remove stagnant water, as the aedes mosquitoes that carry dengue stay in clean and stagnant water.
- Likewise, remove excess water from plant pot plates, scrub containers to get rid of mosquito eggs, change water in flower vases, clean and scrub the vase regularly, and store buckets under shelter to avoid accumulating water.
How much does dengue treatment cost?
Dengue is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It could put someone in the hospital if severe symptoms begin to manifest. So to get you up to speed on the potential costs of dengue treatment, here are some figures.
According to research, the Dengue test in public hospitals costs P400 to P600, while in private hospitals it ranges from P2,000 to P3,000.
Furthermore, the medical cost of one-week confinement in public hospitals could be around P20,000 and for private hospitals, it could be around P40,000 but the cost may vary according to the number of days a person stays in the hospital.
Eligible members of PhilHealth are insured with Dengue at P10,000 and P16,000 at severe Dengue. Benefits are available at Level 1, 2, and 3 hospitals. On the other hand, for non-severe dengue being treated in primary care facilities, PhilHealth insures P7,000.
While these PhilHealth benefits could certainly help alleviate costs in terms of treatment, theyâ€™re still not enough to cover a significant amount.
Dengue medical insurance can help
If immediate hospitalization is required to treat dengue, it goes without saying that there are expenses to follow. This is why medical insurance specifically made to provide cash assistance for dengue patients will come in handy.
Starting at P299, you will receive P10,000 medical cash assistance from PGA Sompoâ€™s DengueCare for one year–even if the patient doesnâ€™t require confinement. Not only that, but thereâ€™s also an added benefit of another P10,000 cash assistance in case of death due to dengue.
Main Features of DengueCare:
- Covers ages 1 to 70 years old
- Coverage starts 15 days after activation of policy
- 1 full year of coverage
- P299 – Budget (P10,000 cash assistance and death benefit)
- P399 – Basic (P12,000 cash assistance and death benefit)
While no one wants to picture a worst-case scenario, itâ€™s always wise to be prepared. You can begin covering your loved ones with DengueCare today by purchasing it directly online here at eCompareMo! You will receive your Certificate of Coverage via email in as fast as 3 days.
Make sure to not let you or your loved ones fall sick, especially not in the midst of a global pandemic, when most of our hospitals are occupied and healthcare is compromised.
It is important to be proactive in controlling mosquitoes inside and outside of our homes to avoid dengue. If every household will do their part in cleaning their surroundings, dengue outbreaks can be prevented and many lives can be saved. In a like manner, the community as a whole should also be educated on the risks and prevention of this frightful fever.
To be informed is one thing, to take action is an entirely different thing–one that could just save a life.