Rain showers and changes in temperature are normal at this time of the year, and a lot of people can’t help but get sick. There are a number of diseases that become prevalent during these months, but dengue is one of the most serious threats to public health.
Dengue Cases in the Philippines
Dengue fever is an infectious disease caused by a virus transmitted to humans through the bite of a female Aedes aegypti mosquito. It is endemic in more than 100 countries but particularly prevalent in tropical areas like the Philippines.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the disease affects approximately 50 million people each year -- some researchers suspect the figure can be as high as 100 million. In the Philippines, a total of 43,770 dengue cases were recorded from January 1 to July 2017 alone. Although it is 36.8% lower compared to the previous year, the alarming number of dengue cases still raise a worldwide concern.
It’s necessary to take precautions in protecting your home against this infection, especially during this rainy season. Take note of the following tips:
Your Practical Guide to Dengue Fever Prevention
Prevention by Mosquito Control
Removal of artificial containers. The first course of action is to address the places where mosquitoes can lay eggs. Possible breeding grounds include artificial containers such as old tires, broken bottles, and anything that collect water over time. If these containers cannot be disposed of properly, make it a point to drain them regularly.
Larvicide treatment. A larvicide is an insecticide particularly designed to exterminate insects while on their larval stage. It is often formulated with chemicals such as methoprene, temephos, oils, and monomolecular films.
Mosquito Fogging. This reduces the population of adult dengue mosquitoes that could be carrying the virus. It uses a synthetic insecticide similar to the ones used in most commercial insect spray cans. The amount of insecticide is dispersed in small concentrations that only kill pests as small as mosquitoes.
Prevention by Lowering Risk of Mosquito Bites
Insect Repellents. Another way to prevent the disease is to avoid mosquito bites. To protect yourself, use EPA-registered insect repellents with any of the following active ingredients:
DEET – this ingredient blocks the mosquito’s ability to track people. A product with 10% DEET provides protection for up to 2 hours.
Picaridin – this repellent offers protection like DEET in similar concentrations. It is almost odorless which makes it a better option for those sensitive to smells.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) – this is an approved natural insect repellent extracted from the eucalyptus plant. It is not recommended for children under 3 years old.
Others - Ingredients such as ethyl hexanediol, metofluthrin, diethyl phthalate, and diethyl carbate are also used in mosquito repellents.
ALSO READ: 5 Fun Things to Do During Rainy Days
How to Apply Insect Repellent Properly
- Apply on exposed skin sparingly
- Do not inhale or ingest
- Avoid contact with the eyes
- Do not use on wounds or irritated skin
- Do not use on children under 2 months old
- Rinse repellent-treated skin after coming indoors
- Lessen use of repellents for pregnant and nursing women
- Avoid using products with high concentrations (more than 50% DEET)
Citronella Oil. Classified as a biopesticide, citronella oil is an effective mosquito repellent that doesn’t pose any toxic effect. Unlike commercially available insecticides, it doesn’t kill mosquitoes but helps in reducing the number of mosquitoes nearby, thus reducing the chances of a mosquito bite. The reason behind this is that the composition of citronella oil effectively masks the scents in humans that insects get attracted to.
In the recent years, citronella oil has gained popularity. Nowadays, there is a wide variety of products that use the oil to repel mosquitoes: candles, diffusers, sprays, and wristbands.
Preemptive measures. Aside from using insect repellents, there are other steps you control mosquitoes in your home:
- Install screens on windows and doors
- Use the air conditioner
- Sleep under a mosquito net
- Light mosquito coils
- Cover as much skin as possible
Clothing Tips to Keep in Mind
- Wear long-sleeved shirts
- Wear long pants and socks
- Wear light-colored clothing
- Treat clothing and footwear with permethrin – another mosquito repellent
To sum up these tips, here are the 4S Strategies devised by the Department of Health (DOH):
Search and Destroy
Seek Early Consultation
Self Protection Measures
Say yes to fogging only during outbreaks
DISCLAIMER: Although this information may help in the fight against dengue, it doesn’t guarantee completeness, validity, and accuracy. The results may greatly vary depending on the situation and the person involved. It is intended for informational purposes only and not to be used instead of professional medical advice.
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