Dengue rashes: Appearance, Symptoms and Meaning

Dengue rashes are a unique marker of the illness. 

“Most seasonal infections are characterized by high fever and so it can become difficult to differentiate between fever and dengue” says Dr Mayank Uppal, Consultant, General Medicine at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in South Delhi.

“Watch out for the presence of dengue rashes and pain behind the eye which are unique to dengue.”  

How do you know if you have dengue?

If you are displaying the following symptoms, you should get checked:

  • Sudden onset of high fever
  • Appearance of dengue rashes during fever
  • Pain behind the eye

In addition to these symptoms, you may also experience:

  • Body ache
  • Immense discomfort during fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

“Besides a clinical examination of symptoms, a blood test for dengue is the final confirmation of dengue fever” says Dr Mayank.

What is dengue rash?

Dengue rashes may appear within 3-4 days of the fever and cover most of your body.

“Rashes are a distinctive sign of dengue but they may not manifest in every case” highlights Dr Mayank.

How does dengue rash look like?

These are small, red pinhead-like rashes which seem to be deeply embedded in the skin. These rashes cannot be felt by running your hand across it.

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Are rashes in dengue itchy?

Sometimes dengue rashes can be itchy and this may make you even more uncomfortable and irritable during the fever. If you have itchy rashes, you may also complain of increased skin sensitivity along with swelling of the palms or soles.

When does the rash go away?

The rash may go away as the fever starts to fade and you start to recover.

“Since dengue is a dynamic disease, you should keep an eye on whether the rashes are increasing or decreasing” emphasises Dr Mayank.

“An increase in rashes could be an indication of decreasing platelet count. This would require close monitoring to prevent any complication.”

Sunaina’s battle with Dengue Rashes

Sunaina’s high fever was identified as dengue early on due to the appearance of rashes all over her body. After consulting Dr Mayank and taking the prescribed medicines, Sunaina was getting better day by day.

She also kept a water bottle by her side to ensure she was well – hydrated.

As the fever started abating, she noticed that her rashes got itchy which made her very irritable. Restless, she consulted Dr Mayank hoping for a solution.

“The rashes made me miserable – I couldn’t even eat or sleep properly” wailed Sunaina.

“Dengue rashes can turn itchy as the temperature starts to lower down” informs Dr Mayank.

“Don’t worry! This itchiness only lasts for 24-48 hours after the fever breaks and can be handled by applying certain soothing agents”

Dr Mayank prescribed medicinal ointments to Sunaina, which provided great relief.

“I actually felt better after using the prescribed ointments. I am glad I didn’t ignore the itching and consulted my doctor about it” concluded Sunaina in a follow-up consultation.

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