Baby health & nutrition

How to protect your baby from Dengue

April 7, 2016
How to protect your baby from dengue

Dengue is a health scare in Pakistan and all over the world too with an estimated 100m cases reported worldwide every year. With summer creeping in on us in Lahore and the lawn mania spreading like wildfire, we have mosquito mania taking over too. It is of utmost importance to protect ourselves and our little ones from dengue. Please read on to find out more about it.

The following symptoms do not show up immediately. It may take up to 3 days for them to become apparent.

Symptoms of dengue in babies:

  • Sudden high fever ( 38 deg. Celsius or higher in babies)

  • a rash

  • low body temperature ( below 36 deg. Celsius)

  • increased fussiness, sleepy or refusal to eat

Symptoms of dengue in children:

  • high fever up to 105.8 deg. Celsius

  • joint pains

  • chills and frequent headache

  • red or white patchy body rash

  • flu-like condition: a cough or cold

  • throbbing and aching behind eyes

  • abdominal pain

  • vomiting/nausea

  • loss of appetite/dehydration

  • bleeding from nose and gum

  • difficulty breathing

  • itchy soles of feet

Symptoms of dengue in Pregnant women:

They are very much similar to those mentioned above for children.

How can it affect children?

Dengue can leave a child looking pale and cause incredible weakness which continues even after the disease has been treated. It is important to watch out for these signs for early detection and treatment or it may take on life-threatening forms such as dengue shock syndrome and dengue hemorrhagic fever.

How can it affect pregnant women?

If one catches dengue during pregnancy, they are more likely to develop a severe form due to suppressed immune system during this time. However, there can occur a greater risk of complications in pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia, pre-term labor and having an underweight baby. Furthermore, caesarean births seem to be more common in women who have dengue in pregnancy. If a dengue stricken woman goes into labor, her chances of hemorrhaging are much higher too.

It is yet unknown if a fetus can contract dengue from the mother. Studies suggest that the risk of passing the disease to the baby may be quite low unless it is contracted towards the end of your pregnancy.

Is it safe to breastfeed whilst suffering from dengue?

Yes! Absolutely! In fact, colostrum and breastmilk contain anti-dengue antibodies that help protect the baby against the virus. There are no known cases of the virus being transmitted to the baby during feeding except one but doctors still insist the benefits of nursing far outweigh such risks.

Recommended treatment for dengue:

  • Rest a plenty
  • Nutritious, light and well-cooked food such as khichdi
  • Mild medicine like paracetamol may be prescribed for aches
  • Drink a lot of warm fluids
  • Drink ORS to prevent dehydration.
  • Basil and fenugreek leaves tea are said to have worked well. Juicing papaya leaves also work to cure dengue

Prevention of Dengue:

There is no vaccine to treat the fever so prevention is better than cure.

  • Dengue mosquitos are most active during the day or early afternoon so care should be taken at these times.
  • Maintain a clean and hygienic environment at home.
  • Keep garbage bins covered and don’t let trash pile up.
  • Get rid of stagnant water accumulated in wash tubs, tanks, flower pots etc. It’s the ideal breeding ground for dengue mosquitos.
  • Install mosquito meshes at doors and windows
  • Diffusing neem, citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint etc oils help to keep mosquitos away. You may even add them to water used for mopping floors and to bedding.
  • Use mosquito nets
  • Wear light-colored clothing and cover arms and legs especially if children are out playing.
  • Use mosquito repellent. Avoid those containing DEET. It is known to cause neurological damage, and once it enters the bloodstream, it makes its way to the nervous system, where it is known to cause seizures and even deaths. It can be especially harmful to children. The Duke University Medical Center has concluded through laboratory rat studies that long-term use of DEET kills brain neurons. Even the EPA and The American Society of Pediatrics restrict the use of DEET.Stay safe and healthy!. Amen.

    Note: Essential oils and DEET free repellants are available at our store for your convenience.

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