The Disease Control Department (DDC) is advising people to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes during daylight hours amid fears of a widespread dengue fever outbreak this year.
DDC director-general, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, said dengue cases are likely to explode in 2022 following two years of relatively few cases due to social restrictions to contain Covid-19 infections. Last month, two of 193 people who caught dengue died.
Dengue fever is commonly found in tropical regions where its vector, the Aedes mosquito which is dark coloured and has typical white markings on the legs, is endemic and most active during daylight hours.
More than 14,000 people have contracted dengue fever and 11 have died since 2020. A report from the Bureau of Epidemiology said the ratio of infection was 21.2 per 100,000 population.
For this year, the DDC reported two dengue fever deaths occurred in January, with the victims being 37 and 40 years old.
Dr Opas warned that most people with dengue who develop a high fever do not realise they have the virus so go to drugstores to get medicine.
They often get non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat themselves but these drugs can cause internal bleeding, especially aspirin, Ibuprofen and Diclofenac, which put patients at higher risk of death, he said.
The DDC recommends the use of paracetamol instead, he said, adding that general dengue symptoms apart from having a high fever, include head and muscle aches, as well as red rashes on the hands, legs and body.
A runny nose is not a symptom, he added.
If people have a fever lasting for more than two days and taking medicine does not help, they should see a doctor immediately, he said.