Protect your family from dengue today!

Protect your family from dengue today!

Last week saw a spike in dengue cases here with a record high of 227 incidences reported. How do you protect your family from dengue?

dengue_fever

Protect your family from dengue

Earlier this month, the National Environment Agency (NEA) placed the dengue alert at warning levels with the number of weekly cases at about 146.  However, for the past three weeks, these numbers have increased and went beyond the epidemic level of 191.  Last week, 227 cases were reported and is the highest number recorded in a week for the last four years.

Even more disconcerting, the amount of clusters with more than 10 cases has also increased from only two areas to six major locations.  Out of these six locations, a dormitory at Woodlands Sector 1 was hit the hardest with an alarming total of 33 cases in the last week alone!

Following this recent spike in dengue incidences, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan urges everyone to be on high alert and play a role in the fight against dengue.  The Minister for the Environment and Water Resources mentions this in his latest blog entry.  He compels everyone to help keep their families, neighbours and friends safe from infection.  He warns that if steps are not taken immediately to contain the situation, a full-blown epidemic might occur.  Therefore, it is necessary to eliminate breeding sites to prevent the Aedes mosquitoes from multiplying and spreading the infection.

Dr Balakrishnan called on everyone to support and cooperate with NEA officers who will continue to carry out house visits in a bid to search and remove breeding sites.  He ended his post advising all Singaporeans to do ‘a simple, daily 10-minute ‘Mozzie Wipeout’ routine will clear any stagnant water from pails, vases and containers’.

He also said: ‘ensure that bamboo pole holders are covered when not in use, ensure that roof gutters are not choked and remove any receptacles which contain water.’

While most Singaporeans know what to do to prevent these harmful pests from breeding, there are some who are unsure of how to spot a dengue infection.  One of them is 23-year-old Hazwanny Hanipiah who lives in the Yishun Ring Road cluster which has recorded several cases of the ailment.

Hawanny said: ‘since there are already a few cases here, I am pretty scared.  My family and I have been keeping our place clean and do our daily checks of stagnating water containers.  I know a high fever is one of the symptoms of dengue but I’m uncertain about the other signs.  I think itchiness is one of them?’

If like Hazwanny, you are unsure of the dengue symptoms, here are some ways to spot a dengue fever:

– sudden onset of high fever

– intense headache

– body aches and joint pains

– loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting

– skin rashes

– retro-orbital pain (pain behind the eyes)

The Asian Parent sought the expert advice from Raffles Medical and Dr Leong Hoe Nam, Specialist in Infectious Diseases and Consultant, commented that children who have not had dengue fever are more vulnerable.  However, they usually end up with a milder form of the disease compared to the adults.  He suggests parents to monitor their child’s fever closely as dengue fever is hard to spot in the initial stage.  He also advise drinking plenty of fluids.

Meanwhile, here are some additional measures you can take other than eliminating breeding sites:

  • dress your child in long-sleeved clothing and trousers to reduce exposed skin
  • make him wear light-coloured clothes as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours
  • use citronella oil-based creams and sprays or other herbal mosquito repellents
  • use mosquito nets while sleeping
  • if you do not already have them, install mosquito meshes on windows
  • air conditioning also helps keeps mosquitoes at bay

Sources: NEA, vivian.balakrishnan.sg, MOH, babycentre, Raffles Medical

Photo credits: NEA

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Written by

Wafa Marican

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