For those of you who don’t know, dengue is one of the most dangerous epidemics that can occur during monsoons and has no vaccination to cure it. According to a Times of India news report, in Delhi alone, about 240 cases of dengue were reported so far in 2013.
Dengue fever, also known as ‘break-bone fever’, is caused by the bite of an infected female aedes aegypti mosquito. It can be painful and fatal. Therefore, the saying, prevention is better than cure, applies the best in case of dengue.
If you’re bitten by an infected aedes aegypti mosquito, it can take about four to ten days for the symptoms to show. High fever, severe headache, painful eyes, nausea, vomiting, rashes, muscle and joint pain are the most common symptoms of dengue. Dengue can occur as a hemorrhagic fever or as dengue shock syndrome.
Since there is no clear treatment to cure this condition and no vaccination against it, the best way to prevent dengue from occurring is to control the spread of mosquitoes. Listed below are some guidelines through which one can keep dengue at bay.
1. The first step towards preventing dengue is to put a full stop to mosquito breeding grounds.
Get rid of any stagnant water around your home. If you have flower pots, make sure you clean out the stagnant water and refill with fresh water every day. Watering potted plants more often than required can attract mosquito breeding. Therefore, in case of potted plants, dig out the soil every day and loosen it to avoid a layer of unused stagnant water on its surface.
2. If you store drinking water in a container, ensure that it is always closed well with a lid after use.
3. To prevent dengue, using mosquito repellents regularly is a necessity.
Make sure you wear clothes that protect and cover most of your body. On the exposed areas, mosquito repellents can be applied evenly.
4. If your home has many windows and doors, you can get mosquito nets fixed.
This will ensure that mosquitoes do not enter your house even if the windows are left open.
5. If you use a water air cooler, remember to clean out the water tray regularly.
6. Ensure that you burn a mosquito-repellent coil or use a ‘Goodnight/All-out’ machine every night before sleeping.
- Keep your trashcan covered at all times.
- A natural way of sanitising your house is to burn camphor with all doors and windows closed. Let its fumes spread in your house for about 20 minutes to have a mosquito-free environment.
7. Yet another natural way of keeping mosquitoes away is to plant a Tulsi near any window.
This plant has medicinal and antiseptic properties that can cease mosquito breeding.
8. Reschedule your outdoor activities and avoid being out during dawn and dusk and during early evening as these are the times when the mosquitoes are out.
Checklist to Prevent Dengue
Here’s a small checklist that if observed, can prevent the incidence of dengue fever.
- Turn over all water storage containers
- Spray adequate insect repellents with at least 20% DEET in dark corners of your house
- Wear protective clothing with long sleeves to avoid mosquito bites when outdoors
- Change water in flower pots and air coolers regularly
- Permethrin – an effective mosquito repellent can be applied to clothes, shoes, camping gear and bed netting. Do not use it directly on your skin
- Clear all fallen leaves and blockages in roof gutters
- Don’t let water stagnate
- Even if there is no vaccination against dengue, it is a completely preventable disease. With the above preventive measures, you can keep the dengue virus at bay. Please be vigilant.