Dengue hemorrhagic fever or known shortly as DHF is known to have been caused by the same viruses as the common dengue fever. The difference in the Dengue Hemorrhagic fever is characterised by increased vascular abnormal blood clotting mechanisms, hypovolaemia and permeability.
It has the same symptoms as Dengue Fever but is potentially more deadly, and is usually diagnosed after a few days from the patient starts suffering from Dengue. After that period, the patient shows new symptoms of irritability, restlessness and profuse sweating. There is a sudden rise in temperatures along with flu-like symptoms as well as facial flush. The fever does not show signs of slowing down and could last for between 2-7 days with temperatures as high as 41°C, with many patients experiencing convulsions or other complications during this period.
If the fever is to subside, then all those connected symptoms will also subside alongside, although this is only in cases of mild DHF. In cases that are severe, the patient, after just a few days of fever might may show signs of deterioration, with dropping temperatures.
During this time the patient might show signs of circulatory failure, while rapidly falling into a critical state of shock. There could be tiny spots of blood on the skin and larger patches under the surface, and this is how DHF characterises itself. Severe cases could result in death within 12 to 24 hours. Patients, however, could recover from this condition if medical aid is provided in a timely and orderly manner.
Here are the most common symptoms to identify Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever in patients –
Recognition of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF)
-Similar symptoms to the common dengue fever, in addition to any of the symptoms mentioned below:
– Abdomen pain that is continuous and severe
– Nosebleeds, bleeding from the mouth and gums or skin bruising
– Patients might experience frequent vomiting, with or without blood
– Stools will have a black colour or coal like
– Constant, excessive thirst
– Skin turns cold and pale
– The patient gets exceptionally restless and experiences sleeplessness.
Who could be affected
– Infants and small children
– Pregnant women and possibly pass the virus to the fetus
– Older adults
– Patients with a compromised immune systems
Once the doctors detect the typical dengue fever in the patient, they could then follow with looking for signs that would indicate a dengue hemorrhagic fever. They would do the following things to detect DHF
– Do a check on the patient’s blood pressure
– Examine the patient’s skin, glands and eyes
– Perform blood tests and coagulation studies
– X-rays of the chest area
Additionally, the doctors may want to inquire about the patient’s family and their medical history. There could also be questions about the patient’s lifestyle or travel patterns. After all this, if the signs are right, the doctor would declare the patient has DHF and could proceed with the appropriate treatments necessary for the same.
Dengue Shock Syndrome
In many cases, patients go into a state of shock following the further deterioration of their condition due to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. In this state of shock, patients could also die, but with the right treatment from the medical specialists, they could recover.
When it comes to DHF or Dengue Shock Syndrome, there are no specific treatments that are enabled that cure the problem. Instead, there are methods to control the symptoms and slowly but gradually bring the condition to normal. Once it is at the stage where doctors can treat with cure as their objective, the situation will lapse, and the patient will be alright.
As mentioned earlier, there are either mild cases of DHF or severe ones. In the mild cases, the doctors may start the treatment first by trying to manage the symptoms and try to prevent the infection from not getting severe. In cases of severe DHF, the doctors are likely to place the patient in emergency and do necessary treatments such as:
- Hydration with intravenous (IV) fluids
- Over-the-counter or prescription drugs to manage pain
- Electrolyte therapy
- Blood transfusions
- Careful monitoring of blood pressure
- Oxygen therapy
- Skilled nursing observation
These methods will allow the doctors to control the problem and alleviate the symptoms and let the body heal naturally. Once these treatments are over, the doctors will continue to monitor the patient’s condition for a period. In many cases of severe DHF, doctors find it very difficult to manage the fever, as the state of the patient deteriorates and symptoms appear at an even faster rate than expected.
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, coupled with Dengue Shock Syndrome could prove to be a lethal combination for the patient even resulting in death. Timely diagnosis and treatments are necessary for the patient’s fast recovery, but the big problem lies in the actual symptoms surfacing because DHF symptoms are identical to the ones for common dengue.
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