The Ministry of Health reminds all that with the persistent rains, the island is still experiencing above normal levels of Dengue fever activity.
Dengue fever is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Persons may become infected after they have been bitten by an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes become infected with the dengue virus, when they bite persons who are already infected with dengue.
Due to the fact that dengue is spread by a mosquito, it is important that all attempts are made to prevent the spread of dengue among family members within the home, when caring for a family member who is ill with dengue.
Signs and symptoms of dengue fever include high fever, joint and body pains, pain behind the eyes, lower back pain, loss of appetite and body weakness. Occasionally there may be sudden onset of skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or respiratory symptoms. Persons with any of these symptoms should seek medical attention. It should also be noted that other infectious diseases (such as influenza and leptospirosis) may present with similar symptoms.
Tips for caring for someone who is ill with dengue:
Persons who are ill with fever, headache and other symptoms of dengue fever, should be taken to the nearest medical facility for assessment and treatment.
Ensure that mosquito breeding sites within or near the home are eradicated; get rid of all water which may be sources of breeding e.g. replace water in flower vases with sand or soil: cover all buckets, jericans, drums and tanks used to store water; ensure that faulty guttering which retains water is fixed.
Insecticide sprays can be used sparingly within the home to kill adult mosquitoes. Ensure that small children are out of the house when using insecticides
Take every precaution to prevent adult mosquitoes from biting the ill family member. e.g. ensure that the ill family member uses a topical repellant and long sleeved clothing; ensure that the ill member sleeps under a mosquito bed net (day and night) to prevent them from being bitten by mosquitoes. Remember, if mosquitoes bite a person who is ill with dengue and then bite a healthy person, the mosquito can transmit the dengue virus from the infected person to the healthy person.
Take every precaution to ensure that healthy family members are not bitten by mosquitoes. In addition to the measures mentioned above, long sleeved clothing and pants, as well as topical mosquito repellants, can be used by the healthy, to prevent mosquito bites.
Persons suspected of Dengue should use Paracetamol / Panadol to reduce the fever and pain. Aspirin and other Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen should not be used if dengue fever is suspected, as these may bring on hemorrhagic symptoms.
Ensure that ill persons drink lots of fluids (water, juice or oral rehydration salt preparations in cases where there is vomiting or diarrhea).
For more information, contact the Ministry of Health at 468-5300, 468-5317, 4685318 or visit your nearest Health Center.