Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is a severe, potentially deadly infection spread by certain species of mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti).
Four different dengue viruses are known to cause dengue hemorrhagic fever. Dengue hemorrhagic fever occurs when a person catches a different type dengue virus after being infected by another one sometime before. Prior immunity to a different dengue virus type plays an important role in this severe disease.
Early symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever are similar to those of dengue fever, but after several days the patient becomes irritable, restless, and sweaty. These symptoms are followed by a shock-like state.
Bleeding may appear as tiny spots of blood on the skin (petechiae) and larger patches of blood under the skin ecchymosis). Minor injuries may cause bleeding.
Shock may cause death. If the patient survives, recovery begins after a one-day crisis period.
Early symptoms include:
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Body malaise
Acute phase symptoms include:
- Restlessness followed by ecchymosis, generalized rash, petechiae, and worsening of earlier symptoms
- Shock-like state (cold, clammy extremities and diaphoresis)
- Cardiac problems
- Liver damage
- Residual brain damage
Because Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever is caused by a virus for which there is no known cure or vaccine yet, the only treatment is to treat the symptoms.
- A transfusion of blood products specifically platelets or plasma can correct bleeding problems
- Intravenous fluids and electrolytes are also used to correct electrolyte imbalances
- Oxygen therapy may be needed to treat abnormally low blood oxygen
- Rehydration with intravenous fluids is often necessary to treat dehydration
- Supportive care in an intensive care unit/environment
I am posting these essential sets of information in relation to the death of my patient. His life was suddenly seized by this traitor. The virus that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carry is really alarming and should not be taken for granted. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever has been one of the crucial problems of our health sector since time immemorial. Several people from different parts of the globe especially innocent children have already been tormented by this ailment. Everyone is ought to be aware; everyone should be informed because this kind of case is no joke.
Pertaining to the aforementioned patient who lost his life at a very young age due to DHF, we (my colleagues and I) have provided utmost care and effort for the child to recuperate as soon as possible. We have done our duties as registered nurses to render the holistic needs of the patient. We have provided the necessary care that he needed for him to recover. Seconds and minutes have passed by. The time came when I had my two-day off and I didn’t know what was already transpiring inside the hospital. I had no single idea if the patients I handled were still confined or were already discharged. All along, I thought everything will be positive as I left him. Suddenly and few days after, a colleague of mine sent me a message telling that patient XY already passed away. It is so heartrending to know that the child you treated with quality nursing care and who has shown hope to survive will be gone in a snap. I was totally taken aback with that news. I believe, he is happy where he is now and I know that he is watching over us from now on.
Despite the emotional attachment that is established between nurses and patients, we, nurses should always be prepared when this kind of scenario comes into picture. We should always bear in our minds that in spite of the care that we render, there are things beyond our control. In a split-second, lives can vanish. In a split-second, hopes can annihilate. In a split-second, a child’s smile can quickly turn into a mere memory.
Hopefully, this story will serve to be a fruitful lesson. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever should be addressed painstakingly. People particularly children do not deserve to suffer this kind of illness. Let us all be aware of the causes, signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention of DHF. To all the parents out there, take good care of your children. Don’t let a single mosquito bite take away their precious lives.
Drexel Heinz Magpantay Cruz, RN, RM
Article Contributor and Essayist for the ff. companies:
Definitely Filipino and Nursing Guide Philippines
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