What Is The Difference Between Viral Fever And Dengue Fever?

What Is The Difference Between Viral Fever And Dengue Fever?

Everyone experiences fever every now and then. Most of the time, it occurs to us only as a nuisance from our routine life. We feel slightly hotter, our eyes might start to water, our back aches, we couldn’t stand straight and we just want to pop in a dose of paracetamol and get into bed. Give it one or two days and we’re back on our feet ready to take on the world. Sometimes, the fever could be worse, it could signify a more serious pathology somewhere in our body, maybe an infected throat, or a large boil, an autoimmune disease, the list is endless. But the tropical regions of the world have it differently,  in a sense, they have a sort of disease to be particularly cautious about. Dengue fever.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease. What that means is, the virus causing dengue fever is transmitted from one person to another through the means of mosquitoes called Aedes aegypti. These mosquitoes are easily recognisable by their striped legs and body, alternating between black and white. They bite primarily during the day, more so early at dawn and around dusk. When a person is bitten with Aedes mosquito, dengue virus is transferred into the person’s blood. The virus gains access to the person’s blood cells, replicates, and disseminates into the systems and manifests its spectrum of disease.

Viral fever on the other hand is any fever caused by viruses. A viral fever typically refers to the more benign types of viruses that don’t cause severe life threatening symptoms. You could acquire these viruses through various routes. Most notably is through respiratory droplets. By inhaling these particles, viruses gain access into your body and cause you to have the flu or common cold. Next is through ingestion from foods and water, in which you could get sore throat or stomach flu.

Treatments for fever differ according to the cause. Simple viral fever requires only symptomatic treatment. Over-the-counter paracetamol to reduce the fever, drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, adequate rest, and tepid sponging may help alleviate the temperature.

Dengue fever however is more complicated. Dengue fever may present differently in different individuals. Some people barely have any fever whilst some may develop serious complications such as massive bleeding  and end-organ failure.

There is no cure that can specifically target and kill dengue virus. Therefore, dengue fever is primarily managed through early detection, symptomatic treatment and addressing complications early. This includes fever control, rehydration, blood component transfusion, depending on the disease severity and daily monitoring of temperature, platelet, white blood cell and blood hematocrit.

To distinguish between the two, generally, viral fever comes with chills and lasts for around 3 to 5 days. There would sometimes be accompanied by cough, runny nose, or mild muscle aches. Dengue fever, taken its typical natural course of disease, has a feverish start for about 3 days, followed by a period of normal body temperature of 2 days and rises again on days 6 onwards. It’s usually accompanied by pain at the back of the eye, more pronounced muscle and joint pain, severe tiredness, vomiting, rashes and loss of appetite. Severe dengue may manifest as spontaneous bleeding. It is important to recognise the warning signs of dengue fever that should prompt anybody to get help immediately. They include, persistent vomiting, stomach cramp, gum bleeding, and altered level of consciousness.

Fever is a natural process of the body to fight against viruses and bacteria, and most of the time, it will resolve on its own with minimal medications if at all required. But, if you are having fever for more than 3 days, with or without symptoms corresponding with dengue fever, it is best for you to see your doctor immediately and get yourself checked especially if you live in, or have travelled recently to dengue endemic areas.