These days its all about COVID-19 and we can easily forget the continued threat of dengue fever that is caused by dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
Dengue is transmitted through a bite of dengue-infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Mosquitoes that bite dengue-infected persons are also sources of spreading the virus.
In August of 2019 the Philippines declared a national dengue epidemic with more than 420,000 dengue cases and 1,500 deaths were reported.
While dengue cases in the first 5 months of 2020 are lower than the same period in 2019, it does not discount the fact that dengue fever is a deadly, and ever-present threat.
Here are some tips to prevent contracting dengue fever from mosquitoes. Let’s do our best to prevent dengue fever on top of our efforts to beating COVID-19.
Use Mosquito Repellants
Apply mosquito repellant creams or sprays on exposed areas of your body both when indoors or outdoors. These repellants don’t kill the mosquitoes and rather make it harder for them to find you.
According to the United States’ CDC, when choosing chemical mosquito repellants check to see the presence of DEET or picaridin as these are two ingredients proven to be most effective in repellants. Researchers have also pointed out that topical applications (lotions, creams, sprays applied on exposed skin) are more effective than using wristbands treated with DEET or citronella.
Make sure you read the directions contained in the label of these repellant products for proper use.
Use Mosquito Nets
Mosquito nets may be used to surround your sleeping or work area. Make sure to also check that screens used in doors and windows have no holes. More effective use of mosquito nets would require that these nets be treated with insecticide. However way, it is also best to use this with one or more of the tips advised here for more effective prevention.
Wear Protective Clothes
It’s advised to wear pants, long socks, and long sleeved shirts for effective protection against mosquitoes. The point is to reduce the exposure of skin where these bloodsuckers can latch onto.
Based on some studies, it is also advised to wear light-colored garments as mosquitoes are said to be more attracted to dark colors like blue or black. Of course if not possible, you can apply a mosquito repellant on exposed skin that are not covered by your clothing.
Clean Out Stagnant Water Deposits
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in still or stagnant water. Make sure you check your backyard, garden, and other areas in your home or workplace for stagnant water deposits. These may be in roof gutters, unused cans, containers, drums or plant boxes that have accumulated water during a rainy downpour.
Empty these vessels, and scrub it clean. Mosquito eggs may stick on the sides of the containers. Doing this regularly helps prevent mosquitoes from breeding. If possible, advise your neighbors to do the same as dengue mosquitoes know no boundaries.
Make an Anti-Dengue Trap
Dengue traps work to attract the mosquitoes into the contraption and trap them until they die, or kill their larvae with pesticide. These can be placed in dark corners around the house and workplace where they are out of reach of pets and children.
A Do-It-Yourself anti-dengue kit can be made with just the following items: used plastic bottle, yeast, sugar, scissors, old newspaper and tape. It attracts mosquitoes and traps them into the bottle, as the yeast and sugar reacts to release carbon dioxide that attracts mosquitoes. It’s important to not stir the yeast to improve the efficacy of the mixture. Also, covering the bottle with black cardboard or newspapers prevents the sunlight from diminishing the carbon dioxide production of the yeast.
After a week or two, you can dispose of the trapped mosquitoes, clean out the trap, and reuse it again with a fresh mixture. Check to see they’re all dead and dispose of the mixture and dead mosquitoes on dry ground. If the area can be covered by some soil, then that would be better.
Request for Fogging
Dengue hotspots in your community should be reported as early as possible to your barangay or contact your Municipal/City Health Offices, so that they can schedule a dengue fogging operation. The purpose of fogging is to kill adult mosquitoes, and not the larvae that are the source of breeding.
According to the WHO, fogging uses an insecticide, whose concentrations are low and does not have adverse health effects on people. The insecticide use is also odorless. It is important to keep windows and doorways open in the house during fogging so it can affect any mosquitoes present inside the home.
See a Doctor ASAP
Finally, if sudden high fever or symptoms of dengue like a headache, eye pain, joint and muscle pain, a rash, and nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite persist for 2 or more days, it is important to consult to a doctor as soon as possible.
The Department of Health also advises that early consultation between 1-3 days of fever is needed to immediately recognize the disease. They may require the patient to increase fluid intake, especially an oral rehydration solution that is proven to be life-saving for dengue patients.