Dengue Fever: Symptoms, Causes and Prevention – Are Australians at Risk?

In the past years, Australia has seen an increase in dengue cases. This can be caused by a number of factors, but according to the federal Health Department, the primary cause is the increase in the number of travels taken by locals to Southeast Asia.

What is Dengue?

Dengue is a viral disease found in different parts of the world. The disease comes from a mosquito, specifically the Aedes aegypti mosquito, when it bites a person with its virus. There are four kinds of dengue viruses and a person who has gotten dengue 1 does not become immune to the other kinds.

Dengue is widespread around the world, especially in urban poor areas where idle water is abundant. Aedes mosquitoes strive in moist areas especially those that have stagnant water.

Here, they lay eggs and spread the virus. Nonetheless, dengue can still exist in more affluent areas as long as the climate in these places is mostly tropical.

Causes of Dengue in the Country

According to the federal Health Department, the mosquito responsible for dengue does not breed in the country. However, the reason for the rising dengue cases is that more Australians travel to dengue-prone countries which increases the chances of them acquiring the virus.

For example, an Aussie visits a country in the Southeast Asia region and gets bitten by the Aedes mosquito. When he comes back home, he could experience the symptoms of the disease.

Usually, this will force them to call in sick for a week. But the good news here is that dengue does not spread in the country because the local mosquitoes do not have the capacity for the transmittal of the virus.

In a report made by the Department of Health in 2016, there was a correlation between the dengue cases and the number of Australians who visited Bali. In fact, Queensland was one of the places that were badly hit by the dengue virus simply because there are mosquitoes that are similar to the makeup of the Aedes mosquito.

Symptoms of Dengue

A person who was bitten by the Aedes mosquito will not get sick then and there. Instead, they will only see symptoms at least four days after they were bitten. Nonetheless, there are those who have very mild symptoms that dengue will not be detected right away.

The most common symptoms of dengue are headache, fever, nausea, body pains, and swollen glands. If you will notice, these symptoms are similar to those of flu. This is why dengue is sometimes confused with flu not until the fever extends for a whole week.

However, unlike flu, dengue does not cause high fever. So if you have a slightly increased temperature than the normal one, this can also be a sign of being infected.

Ways to Prevent Dengue

Unfortunately, there is still no vaccine that will help Australians be immune to dengue fever. To add to that, there is no way to prevent the locals from going to countries that have dengue cases. But there are still a lot of things you can do to prevent getting dengue. Here are some tips:

  • Always use insect repellents when going outdoors. Look for a product that has neem in its ingredients because it is widely known to treat dengue and even repel the mosquitoes that cause it.
  • Even when you’re indoors, apply insect repellents to make sure that you are protected anywhere you go. Since mosquitoes can still enter homes, adding another layer of protection will not hurt.
  • Use essential oils in your home that repel mosquitoes. Scents such as lemon, eucalyptus, and citronella are popular to avoid mosquitoes. What’s also great about these scents is that they each have added benefits that help improve the mind and the body.
  • Try to cover as much skin as possible even during the summer. Wearing light long-sleeved tops will help prevent insect bites on the arms.
  • During the summer, make sure that you apply the insect repellent last. If you need to use sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first and then put the insect repellent. This will ensure that the scent of the repellent will not be covered by the scent of your lotion.

Even though dengue cannot be eradicated in the country, there are a lot of ways for you to avoid getting bitten. And even when you do, make sure to get checked by a doctor so you can be treated immediately.

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