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Preventive Care
Infectious Disease

Dengue fever: What you need to know

03 February 2023 · 5 mins read


Find out what you need to know to protect yourself and your loved ones safe dengue.

Dengue fever is a viral infection. It is caused by the ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Dengue fever facts

  • About 1 in 4 people with dengue infection will fall sick with symptoms that may range from mild or severe.
  • About 1 in 20 people who have fallen sick with dengue will develop severe dengue. Individuals who have had dengue in the past are more likely to develop severe dengue.
  • Infants and pregnant women are also at higher risk of developing severe dengue.
  • Shock and haemorrhage (internal bleeding) may occur in some patients with severe dengue; seeking immediate medical treatment is crucial.

Dengue fever symptoms

Symptoms that you should look out for:

  • Sudden onset of high fever (40°C/104°F)
  • Severe, intense headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Aching muscle and joints
  • Feeling nauseous and vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Bodily rash

The symptoms typically last for 2-7 days (febrile phase) and most people recover from dengue fever after one week.

In severe cases, symptoms of dengue haemorrhagic fever are:

  • Bleeding from the mouth / gums / nose
  • Skin is clammy
  • Internal bleeding that leads to black vomit and stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Small blood spots under the skin
  • Weak pulse

What to do if you have dengue

The first thing to do is to see a doctor if you develop symptoms and suspect it is dengue. Get a family member or a friend to drive you to the nearest hospital if you are unable to drive.

Your doctor will ask you to have as much bed rest as possible and prescribe paracetamol to help reduce fever and relieve pain. Reminder: Do not take aspirin and ibuprofen!

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and watch out for signs of dehydration.

Precaution: When fever is subsiding, look out for warning signs within 3-7 days after symptoms began. Some patients may develop severe dengue, which is a medical emergency.

You should also take precautions to prevent further mosquito bites and minimise the risk of transmission:

  1. Clear your surroundings from mosquito-breeding conditions.
  2. Wear clothing that can cover as much of your body as possible.
  3. Use insect repellents, sleep under mosquito net, keep doors and windows closed or ensure the screens are up.

How to prevent dengue outbreak in your house

The most effective way to prevent dengue fever is to stay vigilant and avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes that have bitten and infected a family member may continue to bite and infect others.

  1. Get rid of breeding habitat of Aedes mosquitoes
    • Throw away all unwanted containers that can collect water because stagnant water is mosquitoes’ breeding habitat.
    • Check and change the water in flower vases in your house frequently.
    • Clean flowerpots in the garden frequently to prevent water collection.
    • Always keep the lid on for all water containers.
  2. Close doors and windows or install screens
    • Aedes mosquitos are most active during dusk and dawn.
    • If you live in dengue-prone areas, keep doors and windows closed.
    • Place screens on windows and doors to eliminate the chances of mosquitoes entering the house.
  3. Use mosquito repellents
    • Apply insect or mosquito repellent on your body when travelling or even when you are indoors.
    • For infants and children, you can get mosquito patches, bands, or wipes from the pharmacy.
  4. Eliminate adult mosquitoes
    • Use aerosol insect repellent, mosquito coils, and electric vapour mates to eliminate adult mosquitoes.
  5. Wear protective clothing
    • Wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants with socks and covered shoes to cover as much of your body as possible.
  6. Time your outings
    • Time your outdoor trips depending on the weather.
    • Bring along necessary kits such as mosquito repellent and netted sleeping bags that can help protect you from mosquito bites.

Make an appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals

If you encounter a situation that requires medical attention, please seek immediate medical attention at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at your nearest Gleneagles Hospital.


  1. Dengue and severe dengue. Available at [Accessed 12 January 2023]
  2. Department of Occupational Safety and Health – Dengue. Available at [Accessed 16 January 2023]
  3. Dengue: Symptoms and Treatment. Available at [Accessed 16 January 2023]
  4. Prevent Mosquito Bites. Available at [Accessed 16 January 2023]

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