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Home > Blog > Noticing Dengue Fever Symptoms in Your Child? Here's What You Should Do

Noticing Dengue Fever Symptoms in Your Child? Here's What You Should Do

Noticing Dengue Fever Symptoms in Your Child? Here's What You Should Do

Max Lab

Aug 29, 2022

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection caused by the dengue virus. Also called break-bone fever, dengue generally spreads in tropical areas of the world, especially during monsoons when the weather is humid and warm. Dengue fever is spread by the bite of an Aedes mosquito found in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. When an Aedes mosquito bites a dengue-infected person, it becomes a carrier of the virus. While the virus cannot be transmitted directly from person to person, it spreads through the Aedes mosquito. When this mosquito bites another body, s/he can be infected with the dengue virus. The virus can infect anyone within any group, either adults or kids. However, children are more likely to catch the disease as they play outdoors and are not fully aware of the intricacies of these mosquito bites. Here is more on dengue fever in children and things parents should do.

The Vulnerability of Infants to Dengue Fever

The immune system of newborn babies and infants is not fully developed. This means that they have limited antibodies and will not be able to fight against different infections to which they may be exposed. This significantly increases the risk of contracting dengue fever in newborn babies and infants.

The Risk of Dengue Fever in Infants

Having an immature immune system, infants are not able to effectively fight off infections. That is why it is crucial to be able to identify the early symptoms of dengue in infants for preventing the progression of the disease into a more critical form. Dengue fever in infants generally starts with a fever. However, if left untreated, dengue fever in infants can soon turn dangerous. In infants, signs of dengue start appearing only after four to ten days of being bitten by an infected Aedes mosquito. There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, so it becomes important to closely monitor the symptoms of dengue fever in newborn babies and ensure timely medical attention to help them recover sooner.

The Stages and Signs of Dengue Fever in an Infant

Typically, for infants, dengue and its symptoms progress through three stages. In some cases, it may have only mild symptoms, while in some cases it may even be asymptomatic, and sometimes it may even lead to severe complications. The three stages of dengue in infants are as follows:

  • Febrile Phase

The first stage of dengue generally causes high fever in infants, which can last for two to seven days. High fever in infants may also be accompanied by joint pain, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, and crankiness. There are certain warning signs of dengue in infants that one must look out for. Persistent vomiting, heavy breathing, and bleeding gums are some symptoms of dengue fever in new-born babies and infants that require immediate medical intervention so the progression of dengue into severe dengue can be prevented.

  • Severe Dengue: Critical Phase

In this phase, one may notice the fever down and the symptoms of dengue fever may seem to be improving. However, it is crucial to keep an eye out for severe complications, which may surface 24-48 hours afterwards. These symptoms may include heavy breathing, excessive crankiness, bleeding gums or nose, and blood in the stool or vomit. At this stage, hospitalisation may be required to monitor the child’s health.

  • Recovery

During recovery, the symptoms of dengue fever start subsiding gradually, and the child will begin recovering. However, it is important to still monitor their health closely until they are fully recovered.

Symptoms of Dengue Fever in Children

While dengue fever is usually mild in young children, there may be some moderate or severe symptoms in children who have had infections in the past. Some common signs and symptoms of dengue fever are: 

Infants and toddlers may not be able to express their discomfort and pain. So, you must be more careful and attentive to observe any symptoms like:

  • Increased desire to be held in the lap
  • Irritability and crankiness even when the temperature reduces
  • Low enthusiasm for favourite game or toy
  • Toddlers may point to areas that ache, such as in the feet, hands, or throat.

If you notice these symptoms between June to October and your child seems increasingly irritated or restless, you must seek medical attention.  

Causes of Dengue Fever in Infants

When a mosquito infected with the virus bites a child, the virus enters the bloodstream and multiplies.

Some children are at higher risk of developing dengue fever if:

  • They have had dengue fever earlier
  • Lived or travelled to tropical and subtropical areas

Preventing Dengue

  • As the bite of the Aedes mosquito is what causes dengue fever in infants, the use of anti-mosquito products can prove to be a good idea. Applying mosquito repellents on kids and using lemon eucalyptus oil can help protect children from mosquito bites.
  • Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in the home is also important to stay protected from mosquitoes. It is important to keep the home clutter-free and tidy and to remove any water build-up around the house. Using disinfectants can help prevent areas from becoming the breeding ground of the Aedes mosquito.
  • Putting bug screens on the doors and windows of the home or keeping them closed properly can add another level of security.
  • Maintaining personal hygiene is crucial. Kids must be taught to wash their hands and feet regularly, when they get back from school or playing, after they have used the restroom, and before they eat.
  • Whenever kids leave home, it is important to ensure that they are wearing long sleeves and trousers.

Dengue Fever in Children - What to Do?

Dengue fever symptoms in kids can be observed from 4-5 days to 2 weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. It is advised to consult a doctor as early as possible. They may be prescribed dengue tests and malaria tests to determine the exact condition.

There are many things to keep in mind if you notice any dengue symptoms in your kid. Meanwhile, you need to take the following actions.

  • Try to Bring Relief from Fever

If the baby has a high fever, you should try to bring the temperature down by giving any medicines as prescribed by a paediatrician. You can also try tepid sponging to bring down the child's fever.

  • Increase Fluid Intake

Hydration is a crucial part of dengue treatment. In many severe cases, doctors give electrolytes and intravenous fluids to refill fluids lost through vomiting. Even if the dengue diagnosis has not been established yet, keeping your child well-hydrated is good for any case of fever. Along with water, you can also give citrus fruit juices, tender coconut water, guava, or Giloy juice to build immunity.

  • Give Healthy Diet

Children tend to lose their appetite in case of dengue fever. Yet, it is important to give them whatever they like to eat and keep them well-fed to fight infection. Make sure you add enough amount of immunity-building food to your kid’s diet plant, such as garlic, turmeric, almonds, etc., to strengthen your child’s immunity and aid in fast recovery. In the case of infants, mothers should not skip breastfeeding them. However, you must avoid force-feeding your child as it can make them irritated and uncomfortable.

  • Ensure Proper Rest

As much as a healthy diet and medicines are vital for recovery, adequate rest and sleep are also crucial. When you notice symptoms of dengue in kids, ensure a cool and comfortable environment for them to rest well. Put your child to bed so that s/he does not feel exhausted and sleeps well. Children may need to be on bed rest for a specific period based on the severity of their symptoms. Sufficient rest and a nutritious diet will help strengthen immunity and destroy the virus.

It is crucial to take your child to a doctor who will prescribe a dengue test to confirm the virus. Also, a physical examination will be done to understand the severity of the condition. While there is no specific dengue fever treatment for kids, the doctor will recommend medicines to help them fight fever and related symptoms, which will help cure dengue.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus, which is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world.

One common symptom of dengue fever in children is a high fever that usually lasts for several days. Along with the fever, kids may experience severe headaches and muscle or joint pain. They might also develop a rash on their skin, which can be itchy and appear as tiny red spots.

The duration of the illness can vary from child to child, but on average, it typically lasts for about one to two weeks.

The first stage of dengue is known as the febrile phase. It typically begins around 4 to 7 days after a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito. During this stage, individuals may experience symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, and rash.


Dengue can be even more severe in children than in adults. The symptoms of dengue fever in kids are similar to those experienced by adults and include high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, rash, and fatigue. However, the complications associated with dengue can be more pronounced in children.

One of the primary methods used for confirming dengue is through blood tests. These tests can detect specific antibodies or proteins related to the virus, providing an accurate diagnosis. Doctors may also perform a complete blood count (CBC) test to check for certain changes in white blood cell and platelet counts, which are characteristic of dengue infection.

The danger stage of dengue is known as severe dengue or dengue hemorrhagic fever. This stage can occur around 3-7 days after the onset of symptoms and is characterized by a sudden drop in platelet count, leading to bleeding complications.

The best treatment for dengue primarily focuses on relieving discomfort and maintaining hydration. This includes:

  1. Fluid replacement
  2. Rest
  3. Medications
  4. Monitoring
  5. Prevention of mosquito bites


Symptoms in infants include:

  • High fever 
  • Irritability
  • Poor appetite
  • Skin rash
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Yes, dengue fever can affect newborns, often through maternal transmission if the mother has dengue during pregnancy, making them particularly vulnerable to severe complications.



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