Don’t ignore dengue fever thinking it’s just viral fever. The two are vastly different from one another. Initially, it can be difficult to know what exactly you are suffering from. However, although the initial symptoms may be the same, there are some noticeable distinctions in the way that they occur.
Viral fever is the intense fever that lasts for three to five days, accompanied by severe chills and body ache. It typically lasts three to five days and goes away as quickly as it comes. It is usually transmitted through the air by droplets from infected people, or by touching infected secretions.
Dengue fever, on the other hand, is more complex in nature. It is transmitted by the tiger mosquito (Aedes Aegypti). The mosquito has black and yellow stripes and typically bites in the early morning or at dawn. The virus enters and reproduces in white blood cells.
The virus has five different types, each of increasing severity. Infection with one type gives lifelong immunity to it and short-term immunity to the other types. The Dengue virus isn't contagious and can't be spread from person to person. The fever lasts for up to seven days often with a drop and then small resurgence towards the end (biphasic pattern), plus headache, swollen and painful joints, and then a rash.
After the fever, finger and toe joints may swell and start hurting, and some patients report a pin-prick rash over their legs, arms, and torsos.
Critical care expert Subhal Dixit says that "It is easy to differentiate between viral and dengue fevers. In viral infection, one may have a runny nose, throat pain, mild body ache, weakness. In dengue, the person may have a high-grade fever, severe body ache, joint pains and rashes (pinkish in colour) all over the body within 24 to 48 hours of the fever.”
In order to medically differentiate between viral fever and dengue fever, the patient is advised to undergo haemogram (complete blood count test) along with dengue NS1 antigen test. If the tests turn out to be positive, then dengue can be confirmed.
If you're concerned about the possibility of catching any of these illnesses in India, the most important thing to keep in mind is the climate. The prevalence of illness does vary every year, and from place to place in India. Dengue is most common in India during the months after the monsoon season. And viral fever, on the other hand, can occur during the transition period of any two seasons.