Easy and Effective Preventive Measures for Dengue
In an article written by Andreo Calonzo for Bloomberg dated July 12, 2022, it was mentioned that from January to late June of this year, more than 65, 000 people had been infected by dengue; a 90% increase from 2021, according to the Department of Health. This news is very alarming because we are also seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases with an average daily count of 1500, stretching our very limited resources in terms of bed capacity and manpower. This begs the question, "Why are we seeing an increased number of dengue cases not just here in the Philippines but all over the world?"
According to published research by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, dengue is the greatest disease burden worldwide, leading to 10,000 deaths and 100 million infections in more than 125 countries. The reasons, besides climate change, are population growth and urbanization.
Urbanization and land use destroy the natural habitat of the virus and the vector. The Aedes aegypti mosquitos which transmit the disease are displaced by land transformed into subdivisions, industrial complexes, etc., and find a new home amongst humans to breed in discarded trash like tires, increasing the population of these vectors. Furthermore, because of explosive population growth, we experience inadequate public health systems. Therefore, factors contributing to dengue are poorly controlled. So, what can we do to help mitigate this problem?
- Use insect repellent.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below.
- DEETPicaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)IR3535Oil of lemon eucalyptus
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Treat items, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents, with 0.5% permethrin or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outside. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. Check inside and outside your home. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
While dengue is a serious illness, not all cases need hospitalization. Some cases can be managed at home. However, should you develop life-threatening symptoms like severe stomach pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding from your gums or nose, blood in your urine, stools, or vomit, or bleeding under the skin, which might look like bruising, difficult or rapid breathing, fatigue, irritability, or restlessness, please consult with a doctor from your nearest hospital.