The best strategy for Chikungunya prevention is protection against mosquito bites. This mosquito-infested disease does not have any protective vaccine or anti-viral medication so far. Protection against mosquito bites needs to be followed primarily during the day between sunrise and sunset. During this time, the carrier mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are most active. Protection against bites is also paramount for the infected person in order to prevent the spread of Chikungunya further.
Chikungunya Prevention Tips
Monsoon not only brings back good old memories and joy but also brings back mosquitos along with deadly diseases. In case of Chikungunya, one should always make sure that s/he doesn’t get bitten by a mosquito. Use the following below mentioned Chikungunya prevention tips to stay clear of the virus this season.
I. Eliminate Mosquito & Larvae Breeding in Surrounding Areas
- Remove water collected in plastic containers, pots, air cooler tanks, used tires, bottles, and flower pots.
- Change water frequently in bird baths and pools
- Unclog roof gutters and cover any open overhead water tanks
- Clean the water storage tanks regularly by draining the water out completely
- Use long-lasting insect growth regulators (IGL) like pyriproxifen for larvicide
- Do regular fogging to prevent adult mosquito infestation
II. Mosquito Bite Prevention
One should follow the below-mentioned Chikungunya prevention tips to avoid getting bitten by the mosquito.
1. Usage of insect repellents
- Use EPA certified mosquito repellents only. They are safe even for children above 2 months of age, pregnant, and breastfeeding mothers. These repellents will not kill the mosquito but will prevent bites.
- The repellent should have at least one of the ingredients out of Picardin, DEET, IR3535 or methyl nonyl ketone, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone.
- It can also have any plant-based oils such as oil of geranium, cedar, lemongrass, soy or citronella.
- Barring DEET and picardin, which have been classified as repellents, the other active ingredients are classified as bio-pesticides.
- Repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) should not be used on children under 3 years of age.
- They should not be applied to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin
- The spray form of repellent should never be sprayed directly on the face. Apply it on hands first and then rub them on your face.
- Children can also use the mosquito repellent patches that can be stuck on clothing or can be worn as wristbands
2. Clothing Precautions
- Chikungunya prevention involves wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants tucked inside socks. The idea is to leave as little skin exposed as possible, to prevent mosquito bites.
- Light-colored clothing should be preferred since mosquitoes get attracted more to darker colors.
- Spray some mosquito repellent onto your clothing and shoes during the day. Repellents or insecticides like permethrin can be applied to clothing for extra protection.
- Keep re-applying the repellent as it wears off during the day and always apply it over the sunscreen layer.
- Wash your hands well after every application of the repellent to prevent any ingestion of the same.
Also, read about: How To Reduce Chikungunya Joint Pain.
3. Other Precautions
- Avoid areas where there is water clogging. Collected still water is generally the breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Children should avoid playing near still water bodies like water fountains and dense grassy areas.
- Make sure you cover Children’s strollers and cribs with a mosquito net during the day.
- Adults should also cover their beds with bed-nets, tucked under the mattress. Bed –nets can be sprayed with a pyrethroid insecticide.
- Using air-conditioners if available also prevents mosquitoes from biting.
- Install mosquito screens on doors and windows.
- Use mosquito repellent coils, machines using repellents at strategic points within the house.
- Aerosol sprays can be used in rooms during the day to clear out mosquitoes.
- When traveling, carry a good supply of repellents with you.
- Carry mosquito nets along with your gear if planning to go camping, trekking etc.
What if you are already infected with Chikungunya?
- Follow the Chikungunya prevention tips for prevention against mosquito bites
- The virus is present in the bloodstream of the infected person during the first week. A mosquito bite during that time spreads the disease.