Consult doctor if you experience dengue-related symptoms, health minister urges

Friday, January 04, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton is urging members of the public to consult a medical doctor in the event that they experience dengue-related symptoms.

“If you feel the headache, the fever, the rash, the joint pains, it is important that you see your physician, whether in the public system or your private physician,” Tufton advised at a press conference at the Health Ministry in New Kingston yesterday (January 3). He warned against the practice of self-medicating, as this can pose serious health risks.

Tufton pointed out that with dengue symptoms bearing similarities to those of the flu, it is important for people to get a correct diagnosis from a physician.

“Self-medicating has to be guided. Because it is also the flu season, many persons may determine that symptoms related to headache and fever may be a bout of the flu,” he said.

Dengue fever is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and symptoms include sudden onset of high fever with severe headache, fatigue, pain behind the eyes, muscle, bone or joint pain, skin rash and vomiting, or nausea.

Rest and adequate hydration are recommended to combat the symptoms and acetaminophen/paracetamol for the treatment of fever.

The ministry is warning the public not to use aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen or any of the medications/pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as these have been known to increase the severity of the disease.

“If you administer aspirin to dengue symptoms, it could aggravate the problem and make the condition worse. To the extent that you are unsure, seek medical advice before you self-medicate. If you want to self-medicate, be absolutely cautious. Avoid taking aspirin,” Tufton said.

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