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How to protect your baby from dengue

Dengue has no known cure, but prevention can help stave off the disease. Infants are at high risk of developing a severe form of the infection, so they must be doubly protected.

As the mother of an infant, you are always careful about feeding your child on time and ensuring that the baby is growing up healthy. But come the monsoon, and the risk of diseases like malaria and dengue go up. You are aware that dengue is caused by the bite of an infected mosquito – a single bite can transfer the viral infection into the human bloodstream. After a period of incubation, the illness sets in and shows many symptoms.

It can become a little difficult to treat dengue in babies, since they cannot be administered strong antibiotics to reduce the intensity of their symptoms. Adequate care and hydration can help them recover from the illness.

Does your baby have dengue?

Your baby is too young to express pain or fatigue, which is why serious health issues can sometimes go undetected. However, the signs of dengue in babies are unmistakable – they develop a high fever, they become listless and refuse to feed, they develop skin rashes and nose/gum bleeds, etc. If you notice these signs of dengue in your baby, get a blood test done at once to determine it. The doctor will then advise on the next course of action.

How to protect your baby from dengue

Though dengue is prevalent in several countries around the world, a cure for it has not been found yet. Tamiflu tablets are prescribed in dengue patients to keep the symptoms in check.However, Tamiflu or any tablets cannot be prescribed in the case of dengue in babies.

  • The only course of action is to keep the baby comfortable and a sharp lookout on any increase in symptoms or fresh illnesses.
  • Make sure your baby gets lots of rest, keeping them away from sources of noise or pollution. Monitor their fever and breathing – if they become breathless, take them to the doctor at once.
  • Your baby needs to drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated. Babies younger than 6 months old should only ingest breast milk and no other fluids. Meanwhile, babies over 6 months old can have breast milk, or formula, or even sips of water. Ask your paediatrician about giving your child any rehydrating fluids.
  • If the fever does not show any signs of abating, you might need to admit the baby to hospital for medical intervention. Normally, the doctor will hook the baby on to an IV drip and administer a mild dose of antibiotics.
  • Dengue is caused by the bite of an infected mosquito. Keep your home clear of mosquitoes, infected or otherwise. Spray the closed rooms with mosquito killer spray to flush out lurking mosquitoes. Switch on an electrical mosquito repellent in your baby’s room to keep them protected from mosquito bites.