A vaccine for dengue fever has been approved and is commercially available in a number of countries. The vaccine, however, is only recommended in those who have been previously infected. Other methods of prevention include reducing mosquito habitat and limiting exposure to bites. For typical dengue, other treatment is purely concerned with relief of the symptoms (symptomatic). Rest and fluid intake for adequate hydration is important.
Treatment besides vaccination
The mainstay of treatment is timely supportive therapy to tackle shock due to hemoconcentration and bleeding. Close monitoring of vital signs in critical period (between day 2 to day 7 of fever) is critical. Increased oral fluid intake is recommended to prevent dehydration. Supplementation with intravenous fluids may be necessary to prevent dehydration and significant concentration of the blood if the patient is unable to maintain oral intake. A platelet transfusion is indicated in rare cases if the platelet level drops significantly (below 20,000) or if there is significant bleeding. The presence of melena may indicate internal gastrointestinal bleeding requiring platelet and/or red blood cell transfusion.
People who suffer from dengue fever have no risk of death but some of them develop Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) or Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS). In some of these cases death can occur. If a clinical diagnosis is made early, a health care provider can effectively treat DHF using fluid replacement therapy. Adequately management of DHF generally requires hospitalization.
Aspirin, Brufen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided as these drugs may worsen the bleeding tendency associated with some of these infections. Patients may receive paracetamol preparations to deal with these symptoms if dengue is suspected. Doctors should be very careful when prescribing medicines. Any medicines that decrease platelets should be avoided.
In Brazilian traditional medicine, dengue is treated with cat's claw herb, which is for inflammation and does not prevent dengue. In Malaysia, dengue is treated by some using natural medicine. The treatment is speculated to be able to arrest and reverse the viral infection and prevent the disease from advancing into a critical stage, though no evidence has yet shown effectiveness. In Philippines dengue patients use tawa-tawa herbs and sweet potato tops juice to increase the platelets counts and revived the patients. These are traditional treatments nd are often not based on scientific medicine research.