My daughter's been having an on and off fever for four days now. I've been controlling her fever with paracetamol since it started. When the third day of fever struck, I had to bring her to the pediatrician to just make sure it wasn't dengue fever, which is caused by mosquitoes and is prevalent in tropical countries like the Philippines during the rainy season.
Symptoms* for dengue include:
- Sudden, high fever
- Severe headaches
- Pain behind the eyes
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Skin rash, which appears three to four days after the onset of fever
- Mild bleeding (nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)
Her pediatrician ruled out dengue because Allie doesn't seem bothered with her fever. Her disposition is still the same -- a happy little baby, magulo, malikot, sayaw ng sayaw. He said that if Allie had dengue, then she would feel miserable even if she doesn't have a high temperature. Allie still plays and runs and dances when in between high temps. Her temperature never went above 39C. The interval of her on and off fever gets better every day. I'm glad that we went to the pediatrician because he got to check if it was an infection. No daw. The doctor said it was viral; just let it run its course, control the fever and it should go away after the fifth day. We're now on our fourth, and I just wish the virus would go away. But if she still has fever by tomorrow night, I have to let her pediatrician know.
Here is Allie after I gave her paracetamol. She's enjoying her plastic turtleshell while watching on her tablet. No fever.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent dengue. The best way to prevent it is to not get bitten by infected mosquitoes. Here are some ways to avoid mosquito bites:
1. Drive down mosquito breeding grounds. During rainy season in the Philippines, the mosquito population really goes up because mosquitoes usually breed in stagnant water. One way to reduce mosquito population in your home is to get rid of those places where they breed. Remove old tires, pots and pans that collect rain outside your home. Make sure water drains properly in and around your home.
Singapore's National Environment Agency has this checklist, as well as some useful illustrations:
|How to prevent dengue if you're living in a condominium|
|How to prevent dengue if you're living in a landed property|
2. Apply mosquito repellent. DEET and picaridin are synthetic chemicals made to repel mosquitoes. Natural mosquito repellents include oil of lemon eucalyptus and oil of citronella. According to the FDA, never use products containing DEET on infants below two months, and, dig this folks, oil of lemon eucalyptus they said is not suitable to kids less than 3 years old. So make sure you read the cautionary texts on your insect repellents okay? You can also ask your pediatrician.
Although I know DEET is the most effective mosquito repellent, I am still iffy about using it on Allie. If you want to use DEET on your kids, make sure the DEET content does not go above 30%. Picaridin, the other synthetic mosquito repellent, works as well as DEET and better tolerated on the skin and fabric-friendly too. By the way, I read from What to Expect that the following things don't work: wristbands soaked in chemical repellents, pills with garlic or vitamin B1, ultrasonic devices, bird or bat houses, and bug zappers.
3. Place mosquito-repelling plants in your garden. Citronella, rosemary, catnip, lemongrass, peppermint, marigold and basil are some mosquito-repelling plants that you can grow. They smell good too.
Catnip - Thrifty Fun; Rosemary - BBC;
Lemongrass - Wikipedia; Marigold - Spices Info; Basil - Academy of Food
Citronella - Stuartxchange; Peppermint - Dr. Jake Felice