Symptoms and Treatment

Key Facts

  • 1 in 4: About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick.
  • For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
  • Severe dengue can be life-threatening within a few hours and often requires hospitalization.

Symptoms

  • Mild symptoms of dengue can be confused with other illnesses that cause fever, aches and pains, or a rash.
Graphic of human body showing most common symptom of dengue is fever with any of the following: eye pain, headache, muscle pain, rash, bone pain, nausea/vomiting, joint pain

The most common symptom of dengue is fever with any of the following:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rash
  • Aches and pains (eye pain, typically behind the eyes, muscle, joint, or bone pain)
  • Any warning sign

Symptoms of dengue typically last 2–7 days. Most people will recover after about a week.

Treatment

  • There is no specific medication to treat dengue.
  • Treat the symptoms of dengue and see your healthcare provider.

If you think you have dengue pdf icon[PDF – 1 page]

  • See a healthcare provider if you develop a fever or have symptoms of dengue. Tell him or her about your travel.
  • Rest as much as possible.
  • Take acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol outside of the United States) to control fever and relieve pain.
    • Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen!
  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water or drinks with added electrolytes to stay hydrated.
Emergency room sign outside of a hospital

Symptoms of dengue can become severe within a few hours. Severe dengue is a medical emergency.

Severe dengue

  • About 1 in 20 people who get sick with dengue will develop severe dengue.
  • Severe dengue is a more serious form of disease that can result in shock, internal bleeding, and even death.
  • You are more likely to develop severe dengue if you have had a dengue infection before.
  • Infants and pregnant women are at increased risk for developing severe dengue.

Symptoms of severe dengue

Warning signs of severe dengue

Watch for signs and symptoms of severe dengue. Warning signs generally begin in the 24–48 hours after your fever has gone away.

If you or a family member develops any of the following symptoms, immediately go to a local clinic or emergency room:

  • Stomach or belly pain, tenderness
  • Vomiting (at least 3 times in 24 hours)
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums
  • Vomiting blood, or blood in the stool
  • Feeling tired, restless, or irritable

Treatment of severe dengue

  • If you develop any warning signs, see a healthcare provider or go to the emergency room immediately.
  • Severe dengue is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention or hospitalization.
  • If you are traveling, find health care abroad.