By Dr. Willie Ong
The rains are here again. And so are those killer mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus. Every year, thousands of Asian people get sick from dengue, and many have died as a result. After experiencing high fever, patients may develop complications like severe bleeding, shock and death.
The danger is real. A study was conducted in Makati, wherein 3 cans filled with water were distributed to each household. After a week, the cans were collected and analyzed for deadly mosquito eggs. Lo and behold, around 30-40% of all households were positive, which means that those killer mosquitoes are flying all around Metro Manila.
But no need to panic, because we have 10 ways to beat dengue.
Clean up your backyard.
Mosquitoes love to stay in dark and damp areas. So if your garage is littered with boxes and assorted garbage. Clean them up or throw them away. Don’t let them become mosquito havens. Schedule a weekend clean-up day.
Empty containers with stagnant water.
The dengue-carrying mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. This means that flower pots, garbage cans, aquariums, unused swimming pools, tires and other muds and piles are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes. So after the rains fill them with water, throw the water away. Next time, keep these containers closed and upside down. Flower vase water should also be replaced weekly.
Check your surroundings for stagnant water.
Some ornamental plant leaves have this “whorl” or cup-like shape that can hold water. Beautiful to behold but deadly in design. Turn them over and throw the water away. Upturned coconut shells are also notorious for holding water. Non-moving rivers, especially in squatter areas, are full of mosquito eggs.
Close your doors and windows.
Some people open their doors in the morning for a whiff of fresh air. They also believe that mosquitoes would leave the house and go into the sunlight. But my advice is to keep your doors shut at all times. If it’s too stuffy, then place a screen door that keeps the flies and mosquitoes outside.
Spray insecticide regularly.
To rid your house of mosquitoes, flies and cockroaches, spray insecticides every few days. Make sure you spray those dark corners, crevices and cabinets. You’ll be amazed at the number of vermins you’ll find dead in the morning. Just make sure that household members are not exposed to the insecticide as they are not the target. Just spray selected rooms when people are not there.
Wear pants, pajamas, long sleeves, and socks.
Mosquitoes are attracted to our breath as we exhale so they know how to reach us even in the dark. And I guess they love bare, plump skin, especially the kids who don’t shoo them away and let them suck as much blood as they want. It’s better ask your school authorities to let the kids wear pants and rubbers shoes. They’ll love it.
Apply insect-repellants or use mosquito nets.
If your kids are going hiking, camping or off to school, you can apply insect-repellants like OFF Lotion. Kids like to play outdoors and are prime targets of these mosquitoes. You can wipe it on selected areas of the clothing, like collars, sleeves and pants. Avoid applying lotion on your eyes, mouth or hands.
Kill those mosquitoes.
When it comes to dengue, it’s either kill or be killed. Instruct everyone to kill as many mosquitoes and flies as they can. Once you’ve got them trapped in your bathroom, show no mercy. Don’t be bothered by your conscience since mosquitoes belong to the forest, not in our homes.
Involve the whole community.
The best way to defeat dengue is if the whole community is aware of the threat. Ask your community leaders to schedule a clean up day. The danger is in those empty houses and lots, which are excellent breeding places for mosquitoes. Become a volunteer to monitor and clean up your surroundings.
Spread the word: Dengue fever is here.
You’ll never know where dengue will strike next so better be prepared. Inform your friends, too. Follow these 10 simple rules and you may not only save your loved one’s life but also your own. Fight dengue, now.