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DENGUE VS COVID 2020

As parents we have to be resilient for our children and do everything we can for their future. In light of recent events, it is even more important that we protect our children against any threats to their health and wellbeing. 2020 has definitely been a difficult year for many, especially parents. With a lethal pandemic sweeping the globe and all of our attention on it, we’ve forgotten that there are still other dangers out there – the most prevalent being Dengue.

To make it easier for you parents out there, we’re going to break down some key things to know about both COVID-19 & Dengue.

Transmission

Dengue

  • Transmitted through the bite of a female Aedes mosquito
  • Peak biting periods are during the early morning, and in the evening before dusk
  • The virus cannot be directly transmitted from one human to another
  • A mosquito can become infected when it takes the blood of a human infected with dengue, becoming a carrier for the virus.
  • Chain of transmission continues when the affected mosquito then bites another human.
  • Humans are known to have carried the virus across countries during the stage where the virus circulates and reproduces in their blood system.

To prevent the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes, make sure that your house and surroundings are free of stagnant water in empty basins and flower pots, as well as rotting vegetation.

COVID-19

In terms of transmission, the COVID-19 virus works very differently from the dengue virus. The COVID-19 virus is contagious, and can be transmitted from one person to another, spreading through both direct and indirect human contact.

Direct or close contact

  • Via nose and mouth secretions from infected people
  • Secretions include saliva and respiratory droplets when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or speaks
  • Those who are in close contact with the infected person can become infected themselves if the droplets come into contact with their mouth, nose or eyes.

Indirect contact

  • Objects and surfaces contaminated with the infected droplets can in turn infect other people who touch the aforementioned surfaces and then touch their eyes, noses or mouths without thoroughly washing their hands beforehand.

Symptoms

As parents though we don’t know how these diseases will affect our children and even less so how the symptoms will manifest. Here’s what to look out for:

Dengue

Some of the general symptoms for dengue are:

  • A sudden, high fever
  • Severe headaches
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Severe joint and muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rashes, which typically appear two to five days after the onset of fever
  • Mild bleeding (from the nose and gums)
  • Easy bruising

With regards to dengue symptoms in infants and toddlers, the symptoms usually begin with:

  • A high fever
  • A runny nose
  • Cough
  • Red and white patchy skin rashes

Children may also exhibit other symptoms such as:

  • Pain behind the eyes and in the joints
  • Headaches and backaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itchiness on the soles of the feet

COVID-19

Based on data collected by China and the United States of America, it is suggested that the risk of severe illness is lower in children who have tested positive for COVID-19 than it is in adults.

Although the data suggests a lower risk of severe illness in children, children with underlying health conditions such as weak immune systems, heart or respiratory diseases are more susceptible to the virus.

As such, parents must still remain vigilant in spotting symptoms of the virus in their children. The most common symptoms experienced by children with COVID-19 are:

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms such as coughs and shortness of breath
  • Respiratory tract symptoms such as runny noses and sore throats
  • Vomiting, diarrhea and nausea
  • Changes in and potential loss of smell
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pains
  • Behavioural changes resulting in moodiness and anxiety

Severe Cases

Dengue

When dengue fever goes unnoticed and untreated, it can lead to fatal consequences.

Severe complications such as dengue hemorrhagic fever could arise, causing high fevers, damage to the lymph nodes and blood vessels. Dengue hemorrhagic fevers can also cause bleeding from the nose and gums, liver enlargement and circulatory system failure.

These symptoms may progress, leading to massive bleeding, shock and eventually, death. This group of symptoms is commonly categorised as dengue shock syndrome.

COVID-19

For severe cases of COVID-19, patients typically experience chest discomfort, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, confusion, unresponsiveness, watery and swollen eyes, bluish lips and complexion, as well as difficulty in staying awake.

Severe cases of COVID-19 can also result in pneumonia and scarring of the lungs.

What to Do

Knowing the symptoms is one thing but most of us wouldn’t know what to do next. Some common questions would be:

  • Should I bring my child to the clinic for initial diagnosis first?
  • Should we head straight to the hospital?
  • What will they do to my baby?

We’re here to answer those questions.

If you suspect that your child might be suffering from dengue fever, contact your doctor immediately. If you are unable to get to a doctor right away, control your child’s fever and ensure that your child stays hydrated in the meantime. Upon reaching a doctor for a checkup, the doctor will examine your child and assess the symptoms exhibited. The doctor will also have to conduct a blood test for more conclusive results.

If your child is showing symptoms similar to those caused by the COVID-19 virus, contact your doctor to find out where you would be able to get your child tested. In the meantime, everyone in the household should be self-quarantined, until testing is done and a negative result is produced.

Conclusion

As dengue and COVID-19 both pose a serious threat to our children’s health, it is imperative that we parents play our part in protecting our children. By remaining cautious and taking the necessary precautions, we can better shield our children from these invisible dangers.

Sources
https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/is-it-dengue-or-covid.html
https://www.worldmosquitoprogram.org/en/news-stories/media-releases/dengue-outbreaks-more-likely-because-covid-19
https://sea.mashable.com/science/11552/heres-how-you-can-tell-the-difference-between-coronavirus-and-dengue
https://unb.com.bd/category/Lifestyle/dengue-vs-covid-19-which-is-more-lethal/46789
https://www.thehealthsite.com/news/covid-19-and-dengue-fever-know-the-difference-743551/
https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/qa/who-is-at-greater-risk-for-developing-dengue-hemorrhagic-fever
https://www.babycenter.com.my/a1021718/dengue-in-children

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