Dengue in Children: Symptoms, Prevention, and Care

Dengue in Children: Symptoms, Prevention, and Care

Dengue in Children: Symptoms, Prevention, and Care


Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral illness that can affect people of all ages, including children. While dengue is generally a mild illness, it can sometimes lead to severe complications, especially in younger individuals. As a parent or guardian, it's essential to be informed about dengue, its symptoms, prevention, and how to provide care if your child contracts the virus.

Understanding Dengue

Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus, which is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions, making dengue a prevalent concern in many parts of the world. Children are particularly vulnerable to dengue due to their weaker immune systems and smaller bodies.

Symptoms in Children

The symptoms of dengue in children are similar to those in adults and typically appear 4 to 10 days after a mosquito bite. They may include:

High Fever:
Sudden onset of high fever is one of the most common signs of dengue in children.
Severe Headache: Children may complain of a severe, persistent headache.
Joint and Muscle Pain: Muscle and joint pain, often referred to as "breakbone fever," can cause discomfort.
Nausea and Vomiting: Children might experience nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.
Rash: A red  rash might appear a few days after the fever starts, which can spread across the body.
Fatigue: Dengue can lead to extreme fatigue and weakness.

Severe Dengue (Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever)

In some cases, dengue fever can progress to a more severe form known as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) characterized  by falling platelet counts. Warning signs of DHF in children include:

Severe Abdominal Pain
Persistent Vomiting
Bleeding Nose or Gums
Rapid Breathing
Cold, Clammy Skin
DHF can lead to plasma leakage, low platelet count, and even shock, which requires immediate medical attention.

Another severe form can lead to fall in blood pressure which can be life threatening if not treated on time.

However, majority of cases are mild only and recover with proper care and monitoring.


Preventing dengue in children involves a combination of mosquito control and protective measures:

Mosquito Control: Eliminate stagnant water sources around your home where mosquitoes breed. Use mosquito nets, screens, and insect repellents to reduce exposure.

Protective Clothing
: Dress your child in long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks to minimize skin exposure.

Insect Repellents:
Use child-safe mosquito repellents on exposed skin. Check with a pediatrician before applying repellent on infants.

Window and Door Screens:
Install screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of living areas.

Time Awareness:
Aedes mosquitoes are most active during early morning and late afternoon. Minimize outdoor activities during these times.

Caring for a Child with Dengue

If your child contracts dengue, here are some steps you can take to provide care:

Hydration: Ensure your child drinks plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, especially if they have a fever.

Rest: Encourage your child to rest and get adequate sleep to support their recovery.

Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate fever and discomfort. However, consult a doctor before giving any medication.

Medical Attention:
If your child's symptoms worsen or they develop severe symptoms (mentioned above), seek medical help immediately.


Dengue is a serious concern for children, but with proper awareness, prevention, and care, the risk can be minimized. By taking proactive measures to reduce mosquito exposure and recognizing the warning signs of severe dengue, parents and guardians can play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of their children. Remember, early detection and prompt medical attention are vital for a successful recovery from dengue.

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