Contrary to what you might think, dengue is a disease that we should watch out for not only during the rainy season. The Philippines being a tropical country is under the threat of dengue all year round. While no proven cure has been found and a universal vaccine has not yet been successfully developed, the primary strategy against the disease is protection. On the bright side, preventing infection is quite easy and vector control measures can be undertaken by everyone daily.
Preventing or minimizing dengue virus (DENV) transmission relies heavily on controlling the vector, primarily the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and obstructing the human–vector contact. In terms of self-initiated protection, environmental management should be the mainstay of dengue vector control. An example of environmental management is to regularly empty, scrub and clean household containers and surfaces where water may stagnate and secure these items with lids and coverings.
Mosquitoes may also propagate in secluded spaces and surfaces, so another good rule of thumb is to dispose of waste properly. Instead of utilizing a wastebasket, opt for a trash bin with cover. This seals the container and prevents mosquitoes from infesting in the trash. At all times, keep your waste segregated and your house tidy.
It also helps to install door and window screens to deter mosquitoes from invading your house. With this protective mesh, you can freely leave doors and windows open for air circulation during the daytime, which is the peak feeding hours of the Aedes aegypti. For added safety, you may also invest in mosquito nets for the bedroom.
Aside from controlling the breeding grounds of these vectors, personal practices to avoid mosquito bites also play a crucial role in dengue prevention. For starters, wear loose-fitting, long-sleeve clothing to minimize skin exposure and prevent mosquitoes from biting your skin. Choose clothes with lighter tones as experts believe that mosquitoes spot darker colors easier than lighter ones.
Simultaneously, you can apply insect repellent products to protect your exposed skin. Always read the label to check the safety of the product and for instructions on how to use it effectively. You may also use mosquito coils and insecticide vaporizers to keep mosquitoes at bay throughout the house.
Most importantly, if someone contracts dengue fever, the patient should be isolated, and the household needs to be thoroughly cleaned to prevent further transmission by any present mosquitoes. Effective dengue prevention is more than just a search-and-destroy process but also a proactive task that is best integrated into your family’s daily lifestyle.
Dengue control strategies [Internet]. World Health Organization. 2017 Jan 3 [cited 2021 Jan 6]; Available from: https://www.who.int/denguecontrol/control_strategies/en/
10 Tips to Avoid Dengue at Home [Internet]. Unilab. 2019 [cited 2021 Jan 6]. Available from: https://www.unilab.com.ph/articles/10-tips-to-avoid-dengue-at-home