Dengue FAQs: How do you know if you have dengue?

Image showing mosquito of dengue sitting on a persons

By Dr. Varun Gupta

When should I suspect that I have dengue?

Dengue should be suspected when you have sudden onset of high grade fever with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, abdominal pain, body aches, rash and vomiting. The fever can lasts for 5-7 days.

What blood test should be done to detect dengue?

Dengue is diagnosed by a blood test called Dengue Specific Antigen DS-1 (with or without Dengue Antibodies) and complete blood count (CBC) including platelet count. Typically, a patient will be positive for dengue specific antigen, decrease in platelet count and decrease in total white blood cells count. The normal platelet count is between 1.5 lakh -4 lakh.

My Platelet count is normal? Can I still have Dengue?

Yes. In the initial phase only white blood cells fall but the platelets may remain normal

My fever is gone. Does this mean I don’t have to worry now?

Around 3-7th day of illness, the fever will be very less or even normal. This marks the beginning of the critical phase where there could be rapid decrease in decrease in platelet count. It is important to monitor the platelet count and watchful of danger signs (bleeding, rash, abdominal pain or vomiting). It usually lasts for 2-3 days.

Can dengue be managed at home?

Most patients with dengue fever will not require hospitalization. They should take adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids (3-4 liters) and monitor the platelets closely. Use cold sponging and Paracetamol for fever.

Aspirin, Ibuprofen other pain killers should be avoided. Antibiotics are not required. It is important to be watchful of any danger signs (bleeding, rash, abdominal pain or vomiting). Patient can follow up with their doctor every 24 hourly.

When is the patient of Dengue hospitalized?

The patient is usually admitted if he is dehydrated or bleeding or has any other danger signs. The patient is generally not admitted if the platelet count is above 50,000. The platelet transfusion is generally given if the platelet count is less than 10,000 in absence of bleeding manifestations.

I had dengue recently. Can I get it again?

It is possible to get dengue more than once. There are 4 different but related strains of dengue virus. Being affected by one strain offers no protection against the others.

Is there any vaccine for Dengue?

No there is no vaccine for Dengue. Preventing mosquito bite is the only method to prevent dengue. Dengue mosquito usually bites during the day time.

Is the patient of Dengue infectious?

Dengue will not spread by touch, cough or secretions. But the spread of dengue from a patient to others is possible through mosquito bite. The patient should be protected from contact with the mosquito by ensuring he sleeps under a bed-net.

Is there a price difference of the tests across laboratories?

There can be significant difference in the pricing across labs (upto 70%). Compare price on

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20 thoughts on “Dengue FAQs: How do you know if you have dengue?

  1. dr sachin

    Disagreement on a point that platelet transfusion below10000.there is no role of platelets transfusion in dengue.inspite if pt is bleeding u can give packed giving platelets u put pt on risk of fluid overload. Transfused platelets never help.

    1. Dr Varun Gupta

      Thanks for the comments Dr Sachin. The context was to create awareness that all dengue patients would not require any kind of transfusion. This is the common myth. There are many references for the platelet transfusion.

      However, we take your point that we can cover more on types of transfusion with specific indication, pros and cons. Please get back to me for any comments on [email protected].

    1. Dr Varun Gupta

      Dear Dr Sachin , as part of our policy we recommend patients should consult their doctor before taking any medicines. Self medication is always risky.

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