Preventive Measures & Precautions For The Spread of Dengue
With monsoon, breeding season for various organisms sets in, causing various viral, bacterial and vector-borne infections. Dengue or ‘break bone’ fever is one of them. It is a fatal viral infection transmitted by the bite of infected Aedes mosquito. A non-communicable disease, mosquitoes are the major carrier of this deadly virus. Whenever a person infected with dengue is bitten by the mosquito, the mosquito gets infected. The bite of this infected mosquito leads to the spread of the virus from one person to another. According to statistics, 400 million people get infected with the virus every year. Being a subtropical country, India witnesses a large number of dengue cases every year.
The virus is asymptomatic in the beginning and shows mild symptoms only after 3-4 days of the bite. These may include high fever, headaches, muscle and joint pain, vomiting, fatigue and skin rashes. Because of the overlapping of the symptoms, it usually gets mistaken for seasonal flu and viral infections; some symptoms are exclusive to dengue but develop in later stages only- especially in cases of DFH and DSS when the virus gets worse and includes the following conditions:
- Bleeding from nose & gums
- Enlargement of liver
- Failure of the circulatory system
- Decrease in the count of platelets in the blood
Therefore, early diagnosis is necessary to prevent the virus from developing further and getting worse. The doctors usually get the blood test done for any suspect case to confirm the virus.
Various types of painkillers such as Tylenol or paracetamol are given to ease the pain and fever. As vomiting or high fever often leads to dehydration, a lot of fluid intake is recommended to rehydrate the body. However, in severe cases, intravenous fluid supplementation and blood transfusion may be required. Therefore, hospitalization become a must in such cases.
NOTE: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen should not be taken as they can increase the risk of internal bleeding.
Steps to prevent the spread of dengue
Dengue is a fatal and deadly virus with no particular cure and vaccine; therefore, one must take necessary precautions and preventive measures to protect and safeguard him/herself. The following measures and precautions can help in keeping the virus at bay:
Don’t let the mosquito bite you: The first and foremost precaution is to protect yourself from a mosquito bite. For this, always wear full sleeved and covered clothes; this will expose lesser skin. Stay away from bushes, dark places and corners where mosquitoes may be generally found. If sleeping outside or in the open, always use mosquito nets to avoid the bite.
Beware of the mosquito: As dengue is spread by the bite of Aedes mosquito, one should try to protect him/herself from it. The Aedes mosquito has white dots and leg and it is most active during early morning and late afternoon. Therefore, one should be more cautious during these times.
Use mosquito repellents: Mosquitoes are naturally attracted to human beings by various factors like warm temperature, certain odours, dark clothing, etc. Repellents work by making people less attractive for mosquitoes, so they are less likely to bite. Generally, the chemical-based mosquito repellents such as sprays, coils and machines creams, etc. contain DEET. DEET-based products are hazardous to health as well as the environment. So, these products should be avoided or used in limited quantities to minimize the side effects. One should avoid using these products unless visiting places that have a high risk of mosquito-borne disease like Zika. In place of these chemicals, some natural ingredients which work as mosquito repellents may be used to decrease the risk of dengue. These include: lemon eucalyptus oil, lavender, cinnamon oil, thyme oil, Greek catnip oil, soybean oil, tea tree oil, etc. The mixture of these oils or some ingredients can be used to make natural DIY mosquito repellents. These work best for doing activities like going on a hike, hanging out in backyard or taking a camping trip, especially for children.
Barring the mosquitoes from getting in: Prevent mosquitoes from getting in by using wire gauze or nets in windows and doors. Keep the doors closed in the evening. Smoke of neem leaves and various other substances can also be used to keep the mosquitoes from entering in the house, schools and offices.
Don’t get into crowded places: Mosquitoes get more attracted to carbon dioxide. Hence, the more the number people, the higher the concentration of CO2, thus, inviting more mosquitoes. Therefore, one should avoid crowded places during the viral season to avoid dengue.
Don’t provide breeding ground to the mosquitoes: During the monsoon, the major problem which leads to a higher risk of dengue is stagnant water. It provides wet, moist, cool, damp and dark places like puddles and pits which are perfect for mosquitoes to lay eggs or breed. Therefore, eliminating these conditions is a must to reduce the risk of dengue, such as:
1) Do not allow rain water to collect and stagnate in balconies, gardens and courtyards, on the roads or lanes near your house
2) Cover the pits & puddles with sand
3) Clean the water tanks & coolers regularly
4) Ensure that drains are covered & not overflowing
5) Inside the house, avoid keeping flowering pots and indoor plants that accumulate water underneath
6) Ensure that surroundings are free of old tyres, containers, etc. where water can accumulate
Avoid garbage piles: Garbage piles are breeding grounds for mosquitoes during the monsoon. Hence, regular segregation and cleaning is a must.
All these measures can protect us against dengue and other chronic diseases to a large extent. However, apart from these preventive measures, one should follow a healthy routine and take a proper diet to boost the immune system. If ones still get caught up with this disease or develop any symptoms, immediate help should be sought to restrict the disease from getting severe at one’s nearby medical and health facilities. Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad provides the best consultation services with its experienced and profound team of general physicians. Contact us today in case of any doubt or consultation.