Dengue has been present for centuries, that’s why everyone is already familiar with it. It is an acute viral infection that can be transmitted through a simple bite of a dengue-carrying mosquito infected, a female Aedes mosquito. It is a serious threat to public health. The dengue virus is probably the most common virus in subtropical and tropical countries like the Philippines. In fact, the worst dengue outbreak in the Philippines happened in 2012, when at least 187,031 cases were recorded. In the Philippines, dengue is a major public health problem and is endemic in all regions of the country. Dengue outbreaks usually occur during the rainy season in the Philippines from May to February, the peak period for dengue as water collects in blocked gutters, street drains, and floods turning them into breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
However, a higher temperature could also contribute to a dengue outbreak as well as a longer rainy season. So make sure to get to know more about tips to avoid dengue at home. Other insects such as flies, cockroaches, and as well as rodents such as mice and rats are just some household pests that can invade your house aside from mosquitos if you don’t protect your home. You can avoid having these kinds of pests at your home by purchasing pesticides, however, pesticides have chemicals that can be quite toxic and if used carelessly, can harm the user, the pets, or the environment’s health so still, it’s better to maintain your home clean in a natural way. Read more from this article from Bria Homes to know more about how to keep away the pests from your home– 5 Simple tips to keep the pests away. Moreover, if you just moved into your new dream house and lot, maybe having it deep cleaned after all the construction is a good idea. Check this article from Bria Homes for some cleaning guidelines for your new home– Cleaning Guidelines before Moving Into Newly Built Home.
In fact, as of April 2022, according to the Department of Health (DOH), there were only a total of 16,156 dengue cases and 97 deaths reported which is significantly 31% lower compared to the same period in 2021 with 23,489 cases reported in the same period. In preventing the emergence of another outbreak, the Department of Health (DOH) has intensified its dengue prevention campaign, actively destroying mosquito breeding sites and ensuring adequate blood supply availability in hospitals.
Dengue mosquitoes can be found usually in dark places and in stagnant water where they breed. It usually takes 10-12 days for the egg of a mosquito to hatch and become a full-formed mosquito. Mosquitoes carrying dengue are day biters and frequent 2 hours before the sun sets. A person infected with dengue might be asymptomatic but usually, the initial symptoms like high-grade fever, joint pain, and rashes might show up. Sometimes a patient shows flu-like symptoms and a fever that runs for two to seven days. Usually, the fever goes down temporarily after three days, that’s why a lot of patients might think that their fever is over. However, this is the crucial phase that must be monitored closely, as it may progress to severe dengue without you even noticing it. A simple or unexpected bite from the Aedes aegypti mosquito could spiral down everything, as dengue can be transmitted by this mosquito. While there is a huge chance of recovery without any serious complications, some get unlucky to suffer a more severe form of dengue, also known as dengue shock syndrome (DSS) or dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), which can lead to shock and even death sometimes.
6 things to do to avoid dengue outbreak in your home
At present, there is still no cure for dengue but it can be prevented through effective control initiatives from the government and proper sanitation in your own home. Below are some tips to avoid dengue at home:
1. Cleaning your water storage regularly.
One of the tips to avoid dengue at home is to discharge any container or thing that could store water. It is important to reduce the environment available for mosquitoes to live and thrive. Determine first the source where the mosquito lives such as your water containing storage. By regularly cleaning water sources like wells and water storage containers, it can prevent mosquito habitats and ultimately reduce their population, thereby putting an end to any future spikes in dengue cases. The mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water and it only takes them seven to ten days for the eggs to hatch and turn into fully formed mosquitoes. Hence, the most effective way to avoid getting dengue at your own home is to ensure that there are no mosquito habitats living in your water storage. Always maintain a healthy and clean environment to prevent the spread of any virus or disease in your own home.
Some tips to avoid dengue at home by preventing mosquito habitats at home are to:
- Cover your water storage at all times to ensure mosquitoes cannot get to the water to lay their eggs.
- Make sure to regularly clean everything and anything that is exposed to and can accumulate water easily, such as your flower vases, water buckets, and drainage areas. Basically, anything that can store water could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus.
- Make sure also to get rid of any stagnant water and constantly cover your garbage containers.
a. Always use mosquito repellent lotions.
Protect your skin from mosquito bites by constantly re-applying a mosquito repellent cream, especially if you’re in a dengue hotspot area. Make sure the mosquito repellent cream contains sufficient properties to ward off mosquitoes, and that the ingredients are safe to use on the skin. If you’re hanging outside of your house, and you know that there are a lot of mosquitoes flying around there, use electric mosquito repellants to protect your skin from mosquito bites.
b. Or you can wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants to cover most of your body skin.
3. At your home, keep your doors and windows closed as much as possible.
Another tip to avoid dengue at home is by keeping your doors and windows closed as much as possible, you’re preventing mosquitoes and other insects from getting in. But this is not the most practical idea because you can’t always close your doors and windows at all times because, of course, you’ll be needing a good natural flow of air for your home. So instead, you might want to invest in windows screens or door screens. In that way, you’re not blocking the passage of airflow but at the same time not letting in the mosquitos. These insect screens must also be checked regularly to ensure that no holes are created big enough for mosquitoes and other insects to get through. For additional protection, you could also use some mosquito repellent sprays from time to time. Or try installing a mosquito net in your bedroom to give you that extra layer of protection while sleeping.
Or you could also think of buying some affordable cleaning appliances that you should have to keep your house spotless. Fret not! This article from Bria Homes made your job of looking for appliances easier and it also listed some benefits of having a clean house and lot. Check this article to know what cleaning appliances to buy and their prices as well– 10 Affordable Cleaning Appliances to Keep Your House and Lot Spotless.
4. Keep your surroundings clean.
Aside from maintaining your house clean, make sure also to maintain cleanliness around your neighborhood. Don’t forget to dispose of your waste properly. Create a proper trash bin so that your household garbage won’t be just lying around the streets attracting different insects and pests that might be carrying different diseases. Use closed trash bins and take out your trash on a regular basis so that it won’t accumulate. Segregating your trash might also help prevent insects from entering your household.
Aside from proper garbage disposal, avoid leaving junk outside your house like old tires which can possibly house mosquitoes and their eggs as well as other containers that might store water inside when it rains. By following the said tips to avoid dengue at home, you are preventing any kind of insects to evade your home and immediate surroundings.
5. Things to do while traveling
First and foremost, avoid visiting areas prone to mosquitoes such as places with a tropical and humid climate, which ironically is the weather that we have in our entire country. The Aedes mosquitoes are somewhat prevalent in urban and semi-urban areas in the Philippines. In some built-up areas, like construction sites, where could be a common breeding ground for mosquitoes, but bear in mind that outbreaks can occur anywhere. Moreover, mosquitoes can also breed in places with stagnant water such as ponds, wetlands, marshes, and swamps so avoid going into these areas or, protect yourself accordingly.
When planning a trip, make sure to pack a travel health kit and always remember to put an insect repellent and use it to prevent mosquito bites. Before traveling, make sure that you’re feeling well or better see a healthcare provider familiar with travel medicine, ideally 4 to 6 weeks before your trip, just to be safe. After your trip, you could visit your healthcare provider right away if you’re not feeling well or if you develop a fever, headache, rash, muscle, or joint pain from your trip.
6. Be vigilant
If a member of your household has already contracted dengue, be extra vigilant and careful. The mosquito that has bit that family member might just be flying around and could spread the disease easily by biting another family member as well. It is not unusual that several members of a household could get dengue at the same time. This is the best time to clean all areas that could be potential breeding grounds of these mosquitos with dengue. Spray more insect repellant around your home regularly, or better yet hire a professional pest control team to fog your entire house and surrounding areas with insecticide for additional protection and to prevent further harm to other people.
Some other simple things that you can do to prevent mosquito breeding are:
- Daily check for any water accumulation on the trays of your dish drying rack;
- Use insecticide sprays daily in dark corners, especially under the bed, sofa, and even behind curtains, and if you can, better to burn repellent oils inside your home;
- After washing your water storage containers, pat dry them and turn them over once dry, store them under a shelter;
- Always break up hardened soil in your potted plants to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water on the surface;
- Frequently change the water in vases or bowls
- Check regularly for any water ponding due to leakage underneath your kitchen sink or bathroom basin;
- Weekly clear fallen leaves and stagnant water in scupper drains and in your garden or balcony;
- Remove any stagnant water in your air cooler units; and
- Do a monthly clean-up of fallen leaves and other blockages in your roof gutters.
With this pandemic, the usual dusting off the shelves and wiping the floors clean are now not enough since the virus breakout, additional procedures must be observed. Aside from cleaning procedures to be taken to prevent contracting the Covid-19 virus, some cleaning guides should also be followed in order to prevent a dengue breakout, especially now that we have entered the rainy season of the country this year. When we go out and go in from our houses, we cannot avoid bringing unwanted dirt and germs with us inside the house, so disinfection is a must. The listed tips to avoid dengue at home above are just some additional guides or procedures that you can add to your cleaning routine in order to fully shield your home and your family against threatening diseases not just from the Covid-19 virus but as well as from other diseases like dengue.
Without an actual antidote or cure for dengue, the best protection is to take the proactive steps and the listed above tips to avoid dengue altogether. By protecting yourself from dengue, you also protect others from dengue, and the best way to do this is to work as a community to ensure everyone stays safe. Start now by cleaning your own house today and keep yourself and your family protected from any dengue outbreaks.