Infectious Diseases 2022

Dengue in childrenças: symptoms, warning signs and treatment

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Dengue in childrenças: symptoms, warning signs and treatment
Dengue in childrenças: symptoms, warning signs and treatment
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The child or baby may have dengue fever or suspect it when symptoms such as high fever, irritability and lack of appetite appear, especially during times of epidemics of the disease, such as in summer.

However, dengue is not always accompanied by symptoms that are easy to identify, and can be confused with the flu, for example, which can cause the disease to be identified at a more advanced stage.

Thus, the ideal is that whenever the child or baby has a high fever and other signs different from the usual, it is evaluated by a pediatrician to identify the cause and start the most appropriate treatment, avoiding possible complications. Learn more about dengue.

Symptoms of dengue in children

Children with dengue may not have symptoms or have symptoms very similar to those of the flu, so the disease often passes quickly to the severe stage without being identified.

In general, symptoms of dengue in children include:

  • Apathy and drowsiness;
  • Body pain;
  • High fever, sudden onset and lasting between 2 and 7 days;
  • Headache;
  • Refusal to eat;
  • Diarrhea or loose stools;
  • Vomiting;
  • Red spots on the skin, which usually appear after the 3rd day of fever.

In children younger than 2 years, symptoms such as headache and muscle pain can be identified by persistent crying and irritability. In the initial phase of dengue, there are no respiratory symptoms, however, what often causes parents to confuse dengue with the flu is fever, which can happen in both cases.

Because a child can have dengue more than once

All people, children and adults, can get dengue again, even if they have had the disease before. As there are 4 different viruses for dengue, the person who caught dengue once is immune only to that virus, being able to catch even more 3 different types of dengue.

Furthermore, it is common for people who have already had dengue fever to develop hemorrhagic dengue, and therefore, disease prevention care must be maintained. Learn how to make a homemade repellent to prevent dengue.

Alarm signs in the child

The so-called "alarm signs" are the main signs of dengue complications in children and appear between the 3rd and 7th day of the disease, when the fever passes and other symptoms appear, such as:

  • Frequent vomiting;
  • Intense abdominal pain, which does not go away;
  • Dizziness or fainting;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums;
  • Temperature lower than 35°C.

In general, dengue in children worsens quickly and the appearance of these signs is an alert for the onset of the most severe form of the disease. Thus, the pediatrician should be consulted as soon as the first symptoms appear, so that the disease is identified before it becomes severe.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of dengue is made through a blood test to assess the presence of the virus. However, the result of this exam takes a few days and, therefore, it is common for the doctor to start the treatment even when the result is not known.

How the treatment is done

Treatment of dengue begins as soon as symptoms are identified, even without confirmation of diagnosis by blood test.The type of treatment that will be used depends on the severity of the illness, and only in the mildest cases can the child be treated at home. In general, treatment includes:

  • Ingestion of liquids;
  • Serum through the vein;
  • Medicines to control symptoms of fever, pain and vomiting.

In the most serious cases, the child needs to be hospitalized in the ICU. Dengue usually lasts about 10 days, but full recovery can take 2 to 4 weeks.

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