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Understanding dengue hemorrhagic fever

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Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a serious form of dengue fever that was allowed to progress. Dengue fever is a prevalent mosquito-borne condition in various tropical and sub-tropical countries. The typical symptoms might be mild which include rash, fever and muscle or joint pain.


A mosquito can become infected by the dengue virus if they bite infected individuals and spread it to another human. Most cases of the infection are caused by a mosquito bite but it can also be acquired if exposed to infected blood.

The dengue virus rarely leads to death. Nevertheless, the infection can progress into a serious condition called as dengue hemorrhagic fever.

What are the indications of dengue hemorrhagic fever?

  • Bleeding below the skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Frequent episodes of vomiting

Take note that the severe symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever usually develop after an individual starts to recover from the dengue virus.

What are the possible causes?

Dengue hemorrhagic fever
The typical symptoms might be mild which include rash, fever and muscle or joint pain.

Always bear in mind that dengue hemorrhagic fever can develop if an individual has been bitten by a mosquito or exposed to blood that has been infected by the dengue virus. Understandably, infected mosquitoes are the usual cause of the disease.

There are 4 types of the dengue virus. If an individual has been infected by one type, he/she develops immunity to that type for life. Nevertheless, this immunity will not provide protection to the other types of viruses. Take note that it is possible to become infected with all types.

If an individual was subjected to repeated exposure to the dengue virus, it increases the risk for developing dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Who are at risk?

Those who are residing or travelling to South and Central America, Southeast Asia, certain regions of the Caribbean or sub-Saharan Africa are at higher risk for acquiring the dengue virus. The other risk factors include the following:

  • Elderly
  • Babies and small children
  • Pregnant women
  • Those who have weakened immune systems

What are the indications of dengue hemorrhagic fever?

  • Headaches
  • Mild to high fever
  • Skin rashes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the joints, muscles or bones

If an individual with dengue fever starts to recover and abruptly develops new or severe symptoms, these are indications of dengue hemorrhagic fever. It is vital to consult a doctor if an individual starts to experience the following:

  • Acute or abrupt fever
  • Restlessness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Bleeding or bruising below the skin
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Substantial drop in the blood pressure


The objective of treatment is to control the symptoms as well as prevent the infection from progressing. In severe cases, emergency treatment might be required such as the following:

  • Over-the-counter or prescription medications for pain
  • Hydration with the administration of intravenous fluids
  • Regular monitoring of the blood pressure
  • Electrolyte therapy
  • Transfusion of blood
  • Administration of oxygen

All these measures are intended to control and minimize the symptoms while allowing the body to naturally heal. As for severe cases, they are harder to treat since the symptoms are already worse and develop at a rapid rate.

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