Difference between Influenza And Dengue Fever Symptoms
Comparing dengue fever and the flu virus in the same article may not have an obvious rationale. One is a common virus with cold-like symptoms which can happen anywhere in the world. The other is a tropical disease which is known for being spread by ectoparasitic insects such as mosquitos. However, in the early stages at least, the symptoms of both conditions are similar. In fact, flu-like symptoms are common to many other conditions usually as a secondary symptom. Becase of this, it can be difficult to realize the actual problem, leading to worse cases down the line. oneHOWTO explains the difference between influenza and dengue fever symptoms so that you may receive the correct treatment for your ailment.
We may have inferred in the intro that the flu, caused by the virus influenza, is not of much concern to your health. This is what happens in the majority of cases. However, certain strains can be particularly nasty and at different periods of time, even the flu has been known to be fatal. This is particularly the case when it is contracted by people with a weakened immune system.
However, in most cases, a case of the flue will display the following symptoms:
- aches and pains in the body
- runny nose/nasal congestion
- red, blotchy skin on face
- sore throat
When you get a case of the flu, it often starts with a 'chilly' feeling. This then develops into the symptoms above, often making the person afflicted very lethargic. They might be able to go to work, but will often be at reduced capacity. This is due to the body's immune system working to fight the virus. Many people will feel too ill to function properly and will need bed rest to combat the effects of the virus.
Around a third of all flue cases are asymptomatic, meaning no symptoms appear even though the virus is present in the cells. It is similar to other diseases such as the common cold, but the symptoms are usually more debilitating.
Dengue fever, as we stated before, is considered a more threatening disease. This is because, without treatment, it can lead to symptoms much more severe than those described for influenza. It is helpful to look at the symptoms of dengue fever in stages:
The febrile (meaning 'fever') stage is the first stage and is often confused for flu. It usually lasts 2 - 7 days:
- Sudden fever (shivering and coldness), up to 40 ºC/104 ºF or above
- Headache (particularly behind the eyes)
- Muscle and bone pain (this sympton of dengue fever lends itself to its monkier of 'breakbone fever')
- Rash - reddened skin which blanches when pressed
Not every dengue fever case will get to the critical stage, but as the name suggests, it can be dangerous and even life threatening. You may understand better when you understand the symptoms:
- Fluid accumulation in chest (due to plasma leaking from the blood vessels)
- Dark stool from blood (due to gastrointestinal tract damage)
- Shock (known as dengue shock syndrome)
The critical stage only occurs in about 5% of cases, but as the symptoms suggest, they are very serious. Critical stage dengue fever more commonly happens in cases involving children and young adults, but it can still happen in older adults also. If you have had dengue fever before, you are more likely to suffer worse symptoms the next time you get it.
As the name suggests, if you enter the recovery stage, your prognosis should be looking better. However, the body will have gone through a lot of trauma, so it can be It can last between 2 and 3 days, but you will still feel run down even after this time.
- Fluid retention
- Itching over the skin
- Skin rash - often in the form of small red bumps (petechiae)
- Slowed heart rate
Differences Between Dengue Fever and the Flu
As you can see, once dengue fever sets in, the symptoms are very different from influenza. They are more severe and have more likelihood of being life threatening. The similarities between the flu and dengue fever are at the beginning of both illnesses. Like many other diseases, catching it early can mean the difference between a quick recovery and being very unwell. The best way to work out if you have the flu or dengue fever is to check the intensity of the symptoms.
The general malaise associated with dengue fever is accompanied by severe pain in joints and muscles, which are present for several days. This is not simply fatigue and apathy, as in the case of flu, but a generalized pain throughout the body and a strong feeling of tiredness which increases as blood platelets lower.
The shared symptoms of the flu and dengue fever include:
- General malaise
- Apathy and tiredness
- Fever, in the case of colds, and stronger flu symptoms
Key aspects for differentiating between influenza and dengue fever include the type of headache and the duration of fever. In dengue cases, patients experience headaches and strong pain in the eye sockets, making them feel heavy and sore when performing simple movements. Additionally, the fever usually lasts for several days, which is not common in colds and flu unless there is significant infection.
Another way to differentiate between the flu and dengue fever is to look for missing symptoms. We often make guesses at what is wrong with us by recognizing symptoms. However, doctors and physicians, particularly those who specialize in tropical medicine, are trained to tell the difference. This is why it is always best to seek medical attention if you are unsure. Self-diagnosis can often be life threatening.
Those who suffer from the dengue virus (as is often spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito) do not have runny noses, sneezing or coughing, which are typical signs of the flu and colds. If you are in an at-risk area of dengue fever and feel like you might have the flu, but don't have runny noses and sneezing, then you should seek a doctor.
Dengue Fever Prevention
The symptoms of dengue fever may extend over several days, increasing in intensity as blood platelets decrease. If the blood platelet count falls below 10,000, patients also experience intense weakness and will begin to manifest symptoms of hemorrhagic dengue fever: bleeding gums, blood in the urine and bruising on the skin. When faced with these symptoms, it is vital that a specialist is consulted as soon as possible, as medical supervision will be important for the patient's recovery.
These key factors will help to tell the difference between flu and dengue fever symptoms. If you suspect you've been infected with this virus, it is essential that you go to the doctor for a check-up and blood test rather than self-medicate at home.
Dengue fever has no specific antiviral treatment, but there is treatment for the symptoms. Bed rest, fluid replacement and analgesics (pain killers) are the best way to treat dengue. However, NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen need to be avoided. They can increase the risk of bleeding. Aspirin also is not advised.
Prevention is best in terms of diseases such as dengue fever. Since the majority of cases come from mosquito bites, trying to prevent these bites is key. To do so:
- Keep mosquito nets over windows and doors to allow air in, but keep the insects out.
- Cover your skin in areas with high incidence of mosquito bites.
- Don't keep standing water for more than a week.
- Keep gardens tidy and don't let them overgrow.
- Don't over water plants, only do so in the morning every other day.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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