What parents need to know: the difference between Dengue Fever and Covid-19 symptoms in children

07 October 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic is still raging. Numbers of infected people in Indonesia are still high, and among those are children. But the Corona virus is not the only threat to children or family. We must

The Covid-19 pandemic is still raging. Numbers of infected people in Indonesia are still high, and among those are children. But the Corona virus is not the only threat to children or family. We must be concerned of the Dengue Fever, especially for children who are kept indoor.

Nearing the end of year, many parts in Indonesia would enter the rainy season. The Dengue Fever would be on the rise in the season. Dengue Fever, borne by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, infect both adults and children. Its symptoms include high fever that may feel like a flu. In the Covid-19 Pandemic era, the symptoms may be similar to those of Covid-19 infection. Therefore, it is vital for parents to be able to differentiate the Dengue Fever and Covid-19 infection symptoms in order to apply proper treatment.

Referring to the information released by the Indonesia Ministry of Health, the followings are ways to recognize symptoms of Dengue Fever versus Covid-19 infection:

  • Covid-9 fever would usually be accompanied by respiratory symptoms.

The first thing in differentiating Dengue Fever from Covid-19 infection is to see other symptoms. In DF (Dengue Fever), the fever phase is caused by virus circulating in the blood. This kind of fever would be hard to cool down using antipyretic as the cause of fever is in the blood and would stay for about 3 days even when the patients are taking fever medicine.

In DF, the fever would happen suddenly with temperature spiking. In Covid-19, fever is usually accompanied with strongly evident respiratory symptoms such as hard of breathing, cough, hard to swallow, anosmia.

  • DF fever runs through incubation

The second way to differentiate DF symptoms from Covid-19 is to monitor the incubation period. Prior to experiencing fever, DF patient would run through 5-10 days of incubation. The transmission is not instant. Incubation is the phase when virus enters the blood but not yet causes any symptoms until the viral load is enough to cause illness or fever.

In Covid-19, fever occurs in the first week. By day 5-7, patient would usually show respiratory symptoms such as hard of breathing, cough and/or runny nose. According to representative of IDAI (Indonesia Pediatrician Association), dr. Mulya Rahma Karyanti, SpA(K), in DF, the dominant symptom is the fever, with milder headache or cough/cold than Covid-19.

  • DF fever is accompanied by a unique headache

The third way to recognize DF is the emergence of headache. DF patients would have a unique headache which occurs on the front side of the head behind the eyeballs. In children, DF is acute, and they would usually have redness in their face. There is no redness of face with Covid-19.

  • Different fever phase

The fourth way to differentiate DF and Covid-19 is looking at the fever phase. In Covid-19, the usual complaints are on fever that is ongoing for 5-7 days with dominant cough-cold that leads to hard of breathing, with decreased oxygen saturation. These are considered severe case of Covid-19 in children.

DF has a fever phase and critical phase. Fever phase occurs on first to third day, followed by critical phase on third to sixth day, and recovery phase on day sixth onward. In the critical phase of day 3-6, leakage of blood vessels may occur that may cause hypovolemic shock. It is vital to ensure patient receive enough fluid to avoid severity or even morbidity.

In Covid-19, patients may experience high fever but with respiratory symptoms such as cough and cold and they may feel increasingly hard to breath.

Those are the differences of DF and Covid-19 in children. Indeed, parents or care giver must always be alert in this pandemic for the risk of Covid-19 infection. But DF is also a serious threat as well are other infection and diseases. Ensure that we understand what the preventive measures are and implement them. Have antipyretic medication such as Tempra ready for initial remedy in the case of children fever. And always observe proper health protocol.

Reference (source in Bahasa Indonesia)


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