Mosquito-Borne Diseases from Travel

Is this your child’s symptom?

  • Tropical diseases spread by mosquitoes
  • Includes malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya fever and Zika virus
  • Your child has no symptoms of tropical disease. If your child has symptoms, use other guides. These diseases start with high fevers.
  • Tropical diseases occur in people who travel to or live in high-risk countries. These mainly are developing countries near the Equator. You may have traveled to a high-risk country recently.
  • West Nile Virus is not included in this guide. See the Mosquito Bite guide.

How Tropical Mosquito-Borne Diseases are Detected by this Symptom Checker

  • These diseases can’t be diagnosed over the phone. But, they can be suspected based on their symptoms. They are then referred to a medical setting where a diagnosis can be made.
  • Malaria will be picked up by the Fever guide. High fevers, prolonged fever and shaking chills will refer the child to be seen. The Headache or Leg Pain guides will also work. Reason: Malaria can also cause severe headache or muscle pain.
  • Yellow fever will be picked up by the Fever guide. High fevers, prolonged fever and shaking chills will refer the child to be seen. The Headache or Leg Pain guides will also work. Reason: Yellow fever can also cause severe headache or muscle pains.
  • Dengue fever will be picked up by the Fever guide. High fevers, prolonged fever and shaking chills will refer the child to be seen. The Headache or Leg Pain guides will also work. Reason: Dengue fever can also cause severe headache, joint pain or muscle pains.
  • Chikungunya fever will be picked up by the Fever guide. High fevers, prolonged fever and shaking chills will refer the child to be seen. The Arm Pain or Leg Pain guides will also work. Reason: Joint pains in the hands and feet are common. So are muscle pains.
  • Zika virus infection will be picked up by the Fever or Rash care guides.
  • Travel to a high risk country should raise the concern. However, common diseases that cause fever (such as colds) also must be ruled out. They occur more commonly in these countries than the serious diseases. But, severe symptoms or symptoms that last too long make us think about these other diseases.

World-wide Causes of Death in Children Under Age 5

  • 6.3 million children under the age of 5 died in 2013 worldwide.
  • These 5 infections account for over 50% of all early child deaths:
    1. Pneumonia and other respiratory diseases 19%
    2. Diarrhea disease 18%
    3. Malaria 8%
    4. Measles 4%
    5. HIV/AIDS 3%
  • Poor nutrition is a factor in over half who die older than one month of age.
  • Over 80% of deaths occur in Africa and Southern Asia. India accounts for 21% of under-five deaths.
  • More than half are due to diseases that we could prevent or treat.
  • Resource: WHO report, September 2014

Tropical Countries

  • Countries in the tropics are near the Equator. They have hot and humid climates.
  • The tropics are also defined as regions without a cold season.
  • Many diseases in these countries are spread by an insect bite.
  • In the tropics, insects never hibernate. They are present in large numbers year round.
  • Other diseases here are spread by germs that multiply in warm water. The water in the tropics usually stays warm.
  • Tropical diseases occur in people who live in or travel to high-risk countries.
  • Climate change is a factor that has allowed these diseases to spread.

Preventing Mosquito Bites During Travel

  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved short and a hat.
  • Avoid being outside when the bugs are most active. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Limit your child’s outdoor play at these times. The mosquito that transmits Zika is also active during the day.
  • Get rid of any standing water. Reason: it’s where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
  • Keep bugs out of the home by fixing any broken screens.
  • If exposed to outside air, use bed nets to protect you during sleep.
  • To prevent mosquito bites, use insect repellents that have DEET. These products work well to protect you from bites. Read the label before using.

Preventing Bites – Use DEET on Skin and Permethrin on Clothing

  • DEET is a good mosquito repellent. It also repels ticks and other bugs.
  • The AAP approves DEET use for children more than 2 months old. Use 30% DEET or less. Use 30% DEET if you need 6 hours of protection. Use 10% DEET if you only need protection for 2 hours.
  • Don’t put DEET on the hands if your child sucks their thumb or fingers. Reason: prevent DEET from being swallowed.
  • Warn older children who apply their own DEET to use less. A total of 3 or 4 drops can protect the whole body.
  • Put on exposed areas of skin. Do not use near eyes or mouth. Don’t use on skin that is covered by clothing. Don’t put DEET on sunburns or rashes. Reason: DEET can be easily absorbed in these areas.
  • Wash it off with soap and water when your child comes indoors.
  • Caution: DEET can harm clothing made of man-made fibers. It can also harm plastics (eye glasses) and leather. DEET can be used on cotton clothing.
  • Permethrin products can be applied to all types of clothing.
  • See Mosquito Bite care guide for more info on how to prevent bites.

When to Call for Mosquito-Borne Diseases from Travel

  • CALL EMERGENCY NUMBER
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • Tropical disease suspected and fever present
  • Tropical disease has been diagnosed and getting worse
  • Tropical disease has been diagnosed and fever returns after gone for several days
  • Tropical disease has been diagnosed and shaking chills return
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Tropical disease suspected, but no fever
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Pregnant and recently traveled to or lives in a place with a Zika outbreak
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Questions about malaria
  • Questions about yellow fever
  • Questions about dengue fever
  • Questions about Chikungunya fever
  • Questions about Zika virus

Source: seattlechildrens.org

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