The alarming rise in cases of dengue across cities in the country has become an increasing cause of worry. It now more important than ever to be aware of the risk factors, and protect yourself. Prevention in this case, is truly better than cure.
What is dengue?
Dengue is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by “Aedes” mosquitoes. The mosquitoes that transmit Dengue live among humans and breed in discarded tires, flower pots, old oil drums, and water storage containers close to human dwellings.
Dengue cannot be spread directly from person to person, i.e., is not contagious. A person can only become infected by the bite of a mosquito that is infected with the dengue virus. he World Health Organization estimates that 2.5 billion people (two fifths the world's population), risk contracting dengue, and that there may be as many as 50 million cases of dengue fever every year.
Dengue usually begins with chills, headache, pain while moving the eyes, and backache. Persistent high fever is characteristic of dengue. Other symptoms to watch out for are exhaustion, backache, joint pains, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure and rash.
Because dengue is caused by a virus, there is no specific treatment for it; treatment of dengue is typically concerned only with the relief of symptoms. People who show the symptoms mentioned above should immediately consult a physician. It is important to drink plenty of fluids, stay hydrated, and get as much rest as possible.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)
DHF is a more severe form of dengue and can be fatal if untreated. It tends to affect children under the age of ten, and causes abdominal pain, haemorrhage (bleeding), and circulatory collapse (shock).
- The prevention of dengue requires control or eradication of the mosquitoes carrying the virus that causes dengue.
- To prevent mosquito bites, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when outdoors.
- “Aedes” mosquitoes usually bite during the day. Therefore, special precautions should be taken during early morning hours before day break and in the late afternoon before dark.
- Eliminate stagnant water that serve as mosquito breeding sites at home, workplaces and their vicinity.
- Using mosquito nets at home and patients need to be kept under mosquito netting until the second bout of fever is over and they are no longer contagious.
Cover overhead tank to prevent access to mosquitoes.
- Eliminate breeding ground by removing unused plastic pools, old tires, or buckets ,clearing clogged gutters and by spraying insecticide between houses .
- Conduct dengue awareness programs in your apartment complex and neighbourhood.
- Advise people showing symptoms of dengue to immediately go for a check-up and get treatment.
- The most effective way to prevent mosquito bite and to reduce the number of mosquitoes around homes or neighbourhoods is to find and eliminate their breeding sites.