Unfortunately, children are not immune to dengue fever. Babies, small children, and teenagers are susceptible to the virus. Senior Medical Officer Dr Leslie Rollock, who is responsible for infectious diseases, environmental matters and surveillance in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, says that children and young persons were usually most affected during an outbreak. Here is a list of dengue symptoms in babies and children to keep an eye out for.
In most cases, dengue fever in infants begins with the symptoms associated with viral influenzas, such as high-temperature fever, runny nose, cough, and fatigue.
Children might exhibit more agitation and irritability than usual, even without an apparent reason. They are also likely to cry often and throw tantrums. Their appetite will drop, and the sleeping pattern will change drastically. This is because of fever and flu-like symptoms that your child is experiencing.
Affected children might experience muscle and joint aches, dull throbbing pain behind their eyes, back pain, splitting headaches, and so on. The pain feels like the bones are being broken. This is why dengue is also known as “Breakbone Fever”.
Your child might complain of shooting pains in the abdomen along with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, which can be mistaken for symptoms of gastroenteritis. Vomiting is an early sign that the child may develop complications; hence he needs to be closely monitored.
A common symptom of dengue is an itchy skin rash that appears in patches. It has been described as a measles-like rash. Another symptom to look out for is a constant itch that appears on the soles of the feet. However, the rash is transient and may disappear even before you see it.
Children experience bleeding from their gums or nose due to a drop in the platelet count. The virus slows down the clotting rate of blood, resulting in bleeding. At times, bleeding can also occur in the gastrointestinal tract. However, this happens in complicated cases only and is not experienced by everyone suffering from dengue.
Dengue can turn into far more dangerous conditions such as Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome. The symptoms associated with these diseases are listed below.
- Abrupt and excess blood loss due to tear in the blood vessels.
- A rapid shock that occurs due to the bleeding.
- A drastic fall in blood pressure.
- Possible organ failure leading to coma.
If you have observed your child showing some or all of these symptoms, you must take him or her to a medical practitioner immediately.
This article appears in the April 1 edition of Focus on Dengue. Read the full publication here.