With monsoon arrives a host of joys; respite from the sweltering summer heat, an occasion to sit back and treat yourself to a hot cup of tea and a swell of inspiration for painters, writers and other artists. But this delightful season is, unfortunately, beset with the danger of falling prey to health issues such as dengue; a painful viral disease, also known as breakbone fever. Dengue is caused by the bite of a mosquito infected with any of the five serotypes of the dengue virus.
We settled over 7,100 claims related to dengue in 2015 and paid a total of Rs. 23.49 crore to the claimants. Seeing the rising number of dengue-based claims and the spiraling costs of dengue treatment, we had a ‘Eureka!’ moment. Why not create a health insurance plan specifically catered to dengue prevention and treatment? Inspired by this objective, we launched the Dengue Care Plan
Dedicated to your well-being, we were also urged to give you the lowdown on dengue so that you can brandish your umbrella (read: preventive measures) with a flourish against health ailments this monsoon.
What causes dengue?
Dengue is caused by the bite of an infected female mosquito of the Aedes aegypti species and, to a lesser degree, of the Aedes albopictus species. The mosquito gets infected with the dengue virus when it feeds on an infected person’s blood. Aedes mosquitoes have black and white markings on their body and legs. They typically bite during daytime, the peak biting periods being early in the morning and in the evening, before dusk.
In India, dengue has claimed the status of an endemic disease, which means that it can be contracted any time of the year. But the humidity in monsoon and water stagnation aid the virus in growing and proliferating.
With the Delhi Government launching a Dengue Awareness Programme in 200 Delhi schools, the Gurugram health department introducing mosquito-eating fish in water bodies and the development of a mobile app called ‘India Fights Dengue’, it is evident that this health issue has become a matter necessitating serious action.
Let not dengue become daunting
With a little knowledge and care, you can safeguard yourself against dengue this monsoon and throughout the year. We have devised a step-by-step strategy for dealing with this menace.
Step 1- Avoid mosquito breeding and mosquito bites
The female Aedes mosquito breeds in stagnant water and prefers to lay its eggs in clean water. This means that no matter how tidy your home and surroundings are, if there is stagnant water around, there’s a high chance of the spread of dengue. Don’t let water collect in buckets and containers, change the water in your flower vases and coolers frequently and keep water containers covered.
Make frequent and extensive use of mosquito killer machines, mosquito nets and coils and mosquito repellent creams and sprays.
Step 2- Recognise the signs and symptoms
According to the Asian Scientist, 75% of the dengue infections occurring worldwide every year are asymptomatic, which means that the afflicted do not experience any symptoms.
For those who display symptoms, look out for a sudden, high fever (40°C/104°F) along with any of the following symptoms, that may last for up to 10 days:
Signs of severe dengue
Pain behind your eyes
Severe muscle and joint pain
Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and/or groin
A fit or seizure caused due to fever
In certain cases, a dengue infection might be more severe in nature and may cause Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF). DHF has similar signs to dengue fever. Other symptoms of DHF include bleeding under the skin, easy bruising, respiratory distress, abdominal pain and frequent vomiting. A patient with DHF might go into shock and experience multi-organ failure. This is known as Dengue Shock Syndrome.
Step 3- Don’t get overcharged for dengue diagnostic tests
The Health Ministry recently issued advisories to all states advising them to cap dengue diagnostic test prices in private hospitals and laboratories, setting a maximum limit of Rs.600 on the tests.
On June 30 this year, district health authorities raided and sealed two private labs, one belonging to a private hospital, for charging more than Rs.600 for dengue diagnosis.
Make sure you don’t get overcharged!
Step 4- Do NOT panic
You have been diagnosed with dengue and find yourself feverishly running through your bucket list, cringing at how many dreams lay unfulfilled. Stop for a moment and take a deep breath!
Dengue is a self-limited illness which means that the disease resolves itself without any specific treatment. For the minority of cases where the patient develops severe dengue, timely and appropriate medical intervention has been seen to decrease mortality rates from 20% to 1%, according to WHO.
Step 5- Take care!
According to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
, the patient’s body temperature should be kept below 39°C by giving the patient paracetamol. Aspirin or Ibuprofen must not be used as these medicines increase the risk of bleeding and a dengue patient may already have a low platelet count (platelets are responsible for blood clotting). This implies that, in case you have a fever and are unsure if it is dengue, it is not wise to self-medicate! Consult a doctor.
Other guidelines by the Ministry include consuming large amounts of fluid (water, soup, milk, juice), getting regular check-ups till you recover and consulting a doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms of severe dengue including those mentioned earlier in this blog as well as black stools, constant crying, excessive thirst and pale, cold and clammy skin.
Step 6: Do not get unneeded platelet transfusion
According to experts, blood transfusion should only be carried out if the platelet count drops to 10,000 with spontaneous, active bleeding. Unnecessary platelet transfusion may actually cause harm.
Step 7: Get insured!
After reading all these tips, you may be feeling less apprehensive. Although following preventive measures can greatly reduce your risk of falling prey to dengue, all it takes is one bite by an infected mosquito to put all your efforts to vain.
Getting a health insurance plan can prove immensely beneficial in the unfortunate incident of contracting dengue. Dengue treatment at a private hospital can cost over Rs.1.2 lakh
. Our Dengue Care Plan provides hospitalisation sum-insured options of Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 1,00,000 at Rs.1.4 and Rs.1.82 a day respectively. We also offer you wellness offers on preventive products and services. Other than that, we provide our customers a limited indemnity cover, over and above the sum insured, for outpatient treatment costs such as diagnostic tests, consultation, home nursing and pharmaceutical expenses. Most dengue patients do not get admitted to hospitals. Our outpatient treatment benefit can safeguard you against unexpected costs even if you do not get hospitalised.
For those who already have a health insurance plan with us that offers a no claim bonus, you can buy the Dengue Care Plan to safeguard your no claim bonus in case you need to make a claim for dengue treatment.
Dengue has become a dreaded word. But not if you know how to prevent and manage it. Preparing for the contingency, taking preventive measures and following the right diagnosis and disease-management advice can help secure your health, peace of mind, finances and, last but not least, your love for monsoon!