Preventing Dengue Fever : A Comprehensive Guide
The World Health Organization emphasizes that relying solely on the vaccine is not an effective strategy for reducing dengue fever in endemic areas. The primary methods for preventing the spread of dengue fever still involve avoiding mosquito bites and controlling the mosquito population. Here are some measures to reduce your risk of mosquito bites in dengue-prone areas:
• Choose air-conditioned or well-screened accommodations since dengue-carrying mosquitoes are most active from dawn to dusk, and they can bite at night.
• Wear protective clothing like long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes when entering mosquito-infested areas.
• Apply mosquito repellent to your skin, with at least a 10% DEET concentration. Permethrin can be used on clothing, camping gear, and bed netting. There are also clothing items pre-treated with permethrin.
• Use screens on windows and doors, ensuring there are no holes to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
To prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs near water sources:
• Weekly, empty, scrub, turn over, cover, or dispose of items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.
• Regularly inspect both indoor and outdoor areas for containers that may collect water.
For babies and children:
• Apply insect repellent to your hands and then gently apply it to the child’s face.
• Dress children in clothing that covers their arms and legs.
• Use mosquito netting to cover strollers and baby carriers.
Always adhere to the label instructions when using insect repellent. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old. Avoid applying repellent to sensitive areas, including hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin.
• Dengue symptoms often mimic other illnesses and typically appear 4 to 10 days after a mosquito bite.
• Symptoms include high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, swollen glands, and rash.
• While most people recover within a week, severe dengue can occur, leading to complications like internal bleeding and organ failure.
In some cases, symptoms worsen and can become life-threatening. This is called severe dengue, dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome.
Warning signs of severe dengue:
A life-threatening condition, can develop suddenly and include severe stomach pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding from gums or nose, blood in urine, stools, or vomit, skin bleeding resembling bruising, rapid breathing, fatigue, and irritability.
When to see your doctor:
If you experience these warning signs after being in a dengue-prone area, seek immediate medical attention. For mild symptoms, especially after recent travel to a dengue-endemic region, contact your doctor.
In conclusion, raising awareness through health education is a crucial tool in the fight against dengue. Informing the public about dengue in detail is vital for the effective implementation of dengue control programs. This awareness can be achieved through audiovisual media and mass awareness campaigns.