How to Prevent Dengue
Despite the growing awareness of dengue symptoms and possible treatments, the number of dengue cases in Singapore in 2019 has gone up especially around May. While more research still needs to be done about its origins and how to treat it, there are ways that can be done to protect your loved ones from the possibly life-threatening illness.
Use a mosquito repellent. If you need to stay outdoors for hours, you should use a mosquito repellent (DEET, 2-undecanone, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, and picaridin) which can come in the form of lotions or sprays. While this will not completely prevent mosquito bites, it will at least prevent them from swarming you.
Just make sure to follow the instructions especially if it is not meant to use directly on the skin. Do not use the repellent, however, for children younger than 3 years. For those who need to use sunscreen, the repellent must be applied last.
Wear long pants and long sleeves. If you are going out at night, especially during the months when most dengue cases are prevalent, you should wear clothes that will offer protection from mosquitoes. The clothes will at least reduce the exposed area of skin, especially among kids.
Add screens to your doors and windows. While screens may not look attractive, they provide some protection in your home not only from mosquitoes but other insects. Always keep the screens closed.
Treat clothes with repellents. If you are going camping or hiking for example, you could add another layer of protection by wearing treated clothes. The most common repellent used is permethrin. It is used to wash fabric so that the chemical will stick on the clothes. Make sure to read the instructions carefully as permethrin is not supposed to be used directly on the skin. There is also the risk of mosquitoes developing resistance to permethrin, but this problem is only documented in the Americas.
Know the symptoms. Not all symptoms are present in a person with dengue fever. Some also manage to get through with mild symptoms, but the most vulnerable are the children and the elderly.
Take note of the combination of the following symptoms: high fever, headache, eye pain, joint pain, muscle or bone pain, rashes, bleeding gums or nose, bruising, abdominal pain, vomiting, black stools, drowsiness, pale and cold skin, and difficulty breathing.
Pick a stroller with netting. For babies, you should invest in a stroller or crib that has a mosquito netting especially if you need to go outdoors.
Use air conditioner if you are sleeping. The cold temperature will prevent mosquitoes from surviving in your home. If you need an extra layer of protection, however, installing a mosquito netting won’t hurt.
Stay away from stagnant water. It does not matter whether the water is dirty or clear. Anything that is not flowing but is exposed can be home to mosquito eggs. Check and replace containers which have water regularly.