Dengue, the mosquito-borne viral disease, could be turning into an epidemic in no time. It is not just about effort from the government, but cooperation of homes and individuals as well—and it is urgent. The spread of dengue is especially worrying among children who are prone to it. prevent dengue fever
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease transmitted by the female mosquito from the species of Aedes and Aegypti, commonly found in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Dengue is a viral fever and the virus is transmitted through bites of the infected mosquito. It can transmit this disease throughout its lifespan. Similarly, mosquitoes can get infected from humans who are suffering from dengue fever and can turn it into an epidemic in no time. The new strain of dengue outbreak DenV-3in Singapore has been responsible for many deaths and serious cases. This article covers some preventive measures to prevent dengue fever in children and adults.
Why more people in Singapore are likely to be affected by dengue
While the government has been successful in its vector control efforts over the years, the dengue outbreak is driven by the new strain of dengue, DENV-3 in Singapore has not happened in the past 30 years. And with the continual rise in numbers, it is concerning as our population immunity to it is reduced to a low, according to NEA.
A larger proportion of the population in Singapore is now susceptible to dengue.
The aedes aegypti that is plaguing many Singaporeans with its new strain of dengue, the DenV-3.| Photo: iStock
Why Dengue Cases in Singapore are Worrying
Singapore is now faced with a new strain of Dengue outbreak known as DenV-3. Since December 2019, the number of dengue cases is steadily increasing in Singapore and the number of cases being reported is increasing each week. In 2019, Singapore had the third-highest number of deaths due to the dengue disease outbreak. DenV-3 has been proved to be quite fatal for humans in the past and wasn’t reported in Singapore in the past three decades. Now, after so many years, DenV-3 has infected a lot of people in Singapore. Recent DenV-3 cases call for serious precautions to deal with this disease as it impacts the immunity of the patient, and in absence of timely medical care proves to be fatal. This year alone, Singapore has reported more than 1,100 dengue cases in the first few weeks of 2020.
Recently many studies have suggested that the major victims of dengue virus are children and people suffering from lung diseases. Young children being more prone to this life-threatening disease, as a parent we all should know the ways to prevent dengue fever. But before pondering over prevention, let’s learn about dengue’s signs and symptoms in children.
Nausea is one of the telling signs to having a dengue fever. | Photo: iStock
Signs and Symptoms in Children
- High Fever, up to 105˚F (40˚C)
- Sleepiness, fussy behaviour and exhaustion
- Less urination
- Cold hands or feet
- Sunken eyes
- Bleeding from nose and gums
- Blood in vomit and stool
- Abdominal pain
- Blotched skin and rash over the body
- Difficulty in urination for 6 hours
- Dry mouth, tongue and lips
- Sunken soft spot on head
- Bruising easily
- Heavy breathing
Prevention of Dengue and How to Protect Children from It
Mosquitos breed in open water sites, making it hard to control the spreading of this disease. Dengue mosquito Aedes and Aegypti breed in stagnant waters of pond, water pools or in any type of openly stored water. Given the recent outbreak of DenV-3 in Singapore, there are several preventive ways to deal with this life-threatening disease. Practice preventive measures and educate your community in order to impede the growth of DenV-3 virus further. Here are some pre-emptive measures which you can use to prevent dengue fever.
1. Avoid having mosquito breeding sites in and around your house, workplace and schools.
2. Dispose solid waste in a proper way and keep them in a manner that rainwater does not collect in it.
3. Access natural mosquito egg-laying habitats and use appropriate insecticides to kill the eggs and prevent further breeding.
4. Empty all pails and watering cans and keep them dry when not in use.
5. Cover open drains and remove any blockages for smooth flow of water.
6. Get rid of any stagnant water in the garden, pots and planters.
7. Change water in the air coolers regularly and keep lids closed. Get rid of AC’s rejected water every day.
8. Add required amount of insecticide in the gully traps, drains and roof gutters every month to eliminate mosquito eggs.
9. If you have a swimming pool in your house or in community, ensure regular cleaning of the same.
10. Educate friends and community on mosquito-borne diseases and measures to prevent it.
1. Place window screens and door mesh to prevent mosquitos from entering the home. Repair broken screens and keep unscreened doors and windows closed.
Fit window mesh or mosquito screens to ward off mosquitos. | Photo: iStock
2. Use mosquito nets while sleeping.
3. Use mosquito repellents, coils and vaporisers in order to prevent insect and mosquito bites.
4. Wear clothes that cover the entire body, like full sleeves shirts and long pants.
5. Clean the house with an effective disinfectant and get rid of all the stagnant water inside the house.
6. Change water in the vases regularly and throw away dried flowers and leaves.
7. Change water in bird baths and from pets’ drinking bowl, regularly.
Preventive Measures for Children
1. Apply mosquito repellents on kids as per the instructions provided on the tube or bottle. Use lemon oil or eucalyptus oil for a more organic approach.
2. Reduce outdoor playtime and park visits, especially around dawn and dusk.
3. Make children wear long-sleeved tops and full pants while stepping outside.
4. Use bednets for protection against mosquitoes while asleep.
5. As part of prevention, consult a paediatrician and vaccinate your kids against dengue.
Tips on Caring for a Family Member Sick with Dengue
If a family member or child gets sick with dengue fever, follow the below given tips to help them recover faster.
1. Prevent dehydration and increase fluid intake like water, juices and soups.
2. Sponge the person’s body with cool water to reduce high temperature.
3. Provide timely medication to the sick person to control fever.
4. Keep children and other members of the house away from the sick person in order to prevent further transmission.
5. Use air-conditioning, if possible.
6. Keep a check on fever and other symptoms like rashes, and blood in vomit and stool that could show the severity of disease.
Dengue is a viral disease and its virus can spread very rapidly in your vicinity. Prevention and caution is vital given in the circumstance of the recent DenV-3 outbreak in Singapore. By taking above mentioned precautions and keeping your kids away from epidemic areas, risk of contracting this life-threatening disease can be reduced.
References: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, CDC, Outbreak News
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