How To Protect Yourself Against Dengue Fever
Don't let that little itch burn you out
The hot and wet climate of Southeast Asia guarantees two things - relentless humidity and swarms of mosquitos. The number of dengue fever cases has increased in recent years, with the dengue epidemic of 2013 resulting in more than twenty thousand cases alone.
When bitten by the Aedes mosquito, four potential serotypes of viruses (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4) infect your body, resulting in dengue fever. Symptoms include the infamous dengue triad of fever, headache and an itchy rash on the body.
A more severe outcome is that the Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, a complication that may cause damage to lymph and blood vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, inflammation of the liver and ultimately, the failure of the circulatory system. This is commonly referred to as the Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS). Individuals with weakened immunity systems or those who have suffered from dengue fever before are at a much higher risk of this potentially fatal illness. Being mindful that dengue has no known cure, active steps have to be undertaken to ensure the safety and welfare of you and your family.
As the carrier of the dengue virus, it’s important to be aware of the characteristics of the Aedes mosquito. Marked by the trademark black and white stripes on its body and legs, the mosquito possesses a staggering capacity to produce eggs; laying about three hundred eggs within its two-week lifespan. Although the Aedes mosquito is most likely to lay her eggs in clean, stagnant water, the eggs can lay dormant for up to nine months, after which they may hatch given the presence of favourable conditions (water and food).
When in a suitable environment, the egg hatches into a larva in less than twenty-four hours. Approximately four days later, the larva begins to develop into a pupa and subsequently emerges as an adult two days later. Three days after the Aedes mosquito has fed on a person’s blood, it lays eggs and the cycle repeats itself.
Given the Aedes mosquito’s resilience and its reproductive capacity, preventive countermeasures are our best weapon in the fight against dengue fever.
Your five golden steps are as follows:
Change the water in vases and bowls every other day
Remove water accumulated on flower pot plates on alternate days
Overturn all water storage containers
Cover bamboo pole holders after use
Clear blockages and put BTI insecticide in roof gutters every month
In addition, do take note of these special preventive steps as well:
Remove your aircon tray and appoint a contractor to redirect water from the air conditioning unit to the nearest bathroom instead.
Besides clearing them out every alternate day, remember to scrub them thoroughly to get rid of any unseen mosquito eggs or larvae. If possible, do away with the flowerpot plate entirely.
Similarly, scrub the interior of the vase to circumvent the possibility of residual eggs. Regularly rinsing loose roots with running water is also a good practice to take up.
If you are heading overseas for an extended period of time, take bigger precautions. Seal the overflow pipe of the flush cistern, cover all gully traps and toilet bowls and of course, ensure that all water storage containers are overturned and kept dry.
For Those Residing in Landed Properties
Pay special attention to your gully traps and roof gutters. Keep gully traps covered or install anti-mosquito valves. Roof gutters are prone to blockages, so be sure to keep them clear and add BTI or sand granular insecticide, particularly in places where the stagnation of water is unavoidable. Remember to clear fallen leaves in drains and gardens as well, making sure to remove all stagnant water regularly.
Keeping Your Neighbourhood Clean
To keep your home safe, you must keep your surroundings safe too. Litter in the form of cans, cups and bottles pose may collect deposits of stagnant water, making them the perfect breeding ground for Aedes mosquitos. Ensure that your neighbourhood is clean and trash free, and you’ll be on your way to safeguarding your family’s health.
Being insured also serves as an effective form of damage control, Tokio Marine’s MosBite Insurance offers coverage for dengue fever. It relieves you of the burden of out-of-pocket expenses, allowing you and your loved ones to focus on recuperating.
Don’t let that little itch burn you out. Join the fight against dengue, and take practical, measured steps to secure you and your family’s wellbeing today.
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