How does affect senior citizens health? Dengue is the most significant mosquito-borne virus and majority results in Dengue haemorrhagic fever, (DHF), Dengue shock syndrome (DSS).
Challenges in Dengue fever in the elderly care:
Dengue is increasingly affecting elderly patients and is a neglected tropical disease and elderly dengue patients have the highest fatality rate and the diagnosis in the elderly is challenging and have worst outcomes.
One may experience worsen symptoms that becomes life-threatening.
Symptoms, Treatment and Preventive measures against dengue fever in senior citizens:
Symptoms of dengue in elderly:
- Like infants and young children, older people are also more likely to develop severe dengue fever
- Risk of death in elderly is high
- Severe headache, muscle pain, joint pain, body ache, pain behind the eyes, rashes, nausea and vomiting
- It varies from mild undifferentiated febrile disease to incapacitating high dengue fever
Based on your symptoms and severity of illness your doctor will treat you.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR?
- Drinking plenty of fluids like soups, fresh juices, oral rehydration solution, coconut water. This will help elderly to prevent dehydration due to high fever and vomiting
- Bed rest
- Tepid sponging to reduce fever and temperature
- Medication for fever. Antipyretics and Acetaminophen will help to reduce fever and body pain. Avoid other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, advil, motrin IB and other ibuprofen. These drugs and pain relievers will increase the risk of bleeding complications.
Treatment for severe dengue in elderly:
- Get admission in the hospital
- Oxygen supply if the patient is very ill
- Monitoring blood pressure
- To prevent dehydration, to manage fluid loss and maintain blood pressure they are given Intravenous fluid (IV) and electrolyte replacements
- Blood transfusion if required
- If there is less count in the platelets then go for platelet transfusion
Needs immediate medical attention if :
- Blood in vomiting
- Black coloured stools
- Red spots or dark patches on skin
- Bleeding from any side
- Bleeding from nose or gums
- Severe abdominal pain
- Severe vomiting
- Difficulty in breathing
- Pale hands and cold feet
There are no vaccines or treatment for dengue fever in elderly. Fever is more severe. So to prevent mosquito bites and dengue infection one has to take precautions like
- Apply concentrated mosquito repellent on your skin
- Wear protective clothing like long sleeved shirts and full pants
- Close all the doors and windows to prevent mosquitos entering our living space
- Mosquito that causes dengue infection is mostly in indoors, dark places, in closets, under beds, in bathrooms and behind curtains.
Use some insect sprays to kill these mosquitos.
- Preferably sleep in a mosquito net that is treated with insectiside
Doctors recommend the patients to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration from vomiting and high fever. To reduce fever and pain use Acetaminophen.
Severe dengue fever requires:
- Supportive care in hospital
- Electrolyte replacement and Intravenous fluids
- Monitoring blood pressure
- Blood transfusion to replace blood loss