Patients, medical personnel should look out for different symptoms of dengue

Both healthcare professionals and patients should be aware of the different phases of dengue infection and look out for the different symptoms that could manifest which, if not identified, could lead to death.

Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society vice-president Bharati Suresh Chand said there were a few areas where information about dengue was lacking and that was where most healthcare professionals and consumers overlooked the symptoms of the disease.

"A lot of patients, when they have a fever, they only know about the high fever symptoms of dengue. But there is a phase in dengue, called the critical phase that comes after the febrile phase.

"When you go into the critical phase, your system shuts down and there is no fever. So there is a possibility when a patient walks into the clinic or pharmacy, and we as healthcare professionals if we only look for the fever, we may think and exclude dengue," she said during a panel discussion at the "Unveiling of the South East Asia Dengue Survey" programme.

The febrile phase, lasting between three to seven days, is when the patient develops a sudden onset of high fever, which is often accompanied by a headache, myalgia, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

It was unveiled earlier at the event, organised by Allied Against Dengue, that 80% of the 500 Malaysian respondents surveyed were worried about the dengue disease but only a quarter of them felt prepared or understood the disease.

According to the South East Asia Dengue Survey that was commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare, despite the widespread concern, understanding of the risks, symptoms and management of dengue was severely lacking.

"Just over half of individuals surveyed described themselves as knowledgeable in recognising the symptoms and only 33% are aware that there is no cure," the survey said.

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