Keep your loved ones safe
First and foremost, mosquitoes can be an absolute nuisance. And to make things worse, they can also be deadly- through the widespread tropical disease, dengue fever.
Dangers of Dengue
It’s a mosquito-borne disease caused by the dengue virus. This pandemic-prone viral epidemic causes a serious flu-like illness and can even reach severe dengue that may be fatal. Of course, you’ve heard of your neighbour’s son who has dengue or your cousin brother’s colleague or your daughter’s school friend who was affected. But you somehow think it’ll never happen to you or your family. But take a look at what the World Health Organisation (WHO) states “The incidence of dengue has increased 30-fold over the last 50 years. Up to 50-100 million infections are now estimated to occur annually in over 100 endemic countries, putting almost half of the world’s population at risk.” If that’s not convincing enough, the situation specific to Singapore is as such:
"The number of dengue fever cases in the first three months of 2019 has risen more than three times from the same period last year…" according to the National Environment Agency. Usually the peak dengue season in Singapore is from June to October, where the weather remains warm result in the accelerated growth of the Aedes mosquito population and a shorter incubation period of dengue virus.
What is Dengue?
Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected female Aedes mosquito. It is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide, predominantly urban and semi-urban area. There are four distinct serotypes of the dengue virus (DEN 1, DEN 2, DEN 3 and DEN 4), meaning it is possible to become infected by four different serotypes of virus. Although each infection confers lifelong immunity to that particular serotype, a subsequent infection with a different serotype will increase the risk of contracting the fatal form known as dengue hemorrhagic fever
Source of Dengue in Singapore
There is no specific pinpointing source as such. The Strait Times reported NEA detected approximately 60 percent of mosquito breeding habitats were found in residential premises.
Aedes aegypti is the main mosquito species that transmits dengue in Singapore. Whereas, Aedes albopictus can transmit dengue as well, but not as efficiently as Aedes aegypti. These mosquitoes are also vectors of chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses. The breeding habitats for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus include artificial or natural water containers/bodies such as flower pots, clogged roof gutters and household water storage containers. Aedes albopictus also breeds in areas with a lot of greenery, as well as natural habitats such as tree holes and dry leaves.
Adult females primarily bite during the day and peak after sunrise and before sunset as it need the protein in blood for its eggs to develop.The mosquito can lay eggs for about three times in its lifetime, and about 100 eggs are produced each time. The eggs can lie dormant in dry conditions for approximately nine months, until they can hatch once exposed to favourable conditions, such as water and food. Under optimal conditions, the egg of an Aedes mosquito can hatch into a larva within twenty-four hours. The larva then takes about four days to develop into a pupa, from which an adult mosquito will emerge after two days. Three days after the mosquito has bitten a person and taken in blood, it will lay eggs, and the cycle repeats.
Dengue fever is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infective Aedes mosquito. A mosquito becomes infected when it takes a blood meal from a dengue-infected person. It becomes infective after an extrinsic incubation period of 8 to 12 days. The mosquito then remains infective for the rest of its lifespan. When a person is bitten by an infective mosquito, symptoms may develop after an intrinsic incubation period of 4 to 7 days (ranges from 3 to 14 days). Notably, up to 75% of dengue infections are asymptomatic, which means they show no symptoms. However, dengue fever does not spread from person to person.
Signs and symptoms
Dengue fever is a flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults. Sometimes, symptoms are mild and can be mistakenly investigated as flu or another viral infection. Younger children and people who have never had the infection before tend to have milder cases than older children and adults.
Symptoms may include:
• Sudden high fever (40⁰C/ 104⁰F) for 2-7 days
• Severe headaches
• Pain behind the eyes
• Severe joint and muscle pain
• Skin rash, which appears two to five days after the onset of fever
• Mild bleeding (such as nose bleeds, bleeding gums, or easy bruising, usually appear 4-7 days after infected bite)
However, there is a possibility of developing dengue hemorrhagic fever, a rare complication characterized by high fever, damage to lymph and blood vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, enlargement of the liver, and failure of the circulatory system. The symptoms may progress to massive bleeding, shock, and death. This is called dengue shock syndrome (DSS). People with weakened immune systems as well as those with a second or subsequent dengue infection are believed to be at greater risk for developing dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Treatment for Dengue
There is no specific medicine to treat dengue infection. If you think you may have dengue fever, you should use pain relievers such as acetaminophen or paracetamol but avoid medicines with possible side effects of lead to heavy bleeding such as ibuprofen and aspirin. You should also rest, drink plenty of fluids, and consult your doctor. If symptoms get worse within the first 24 hours after your fever goes down, you should get to a hospital immediately for checking of complications.
How to Defeat Dengue
The logic is quite simple, which is to prevent the spread of dengue fever, you must first prevent the breeding of its vector, the Aedes mosquito. The Aedes mosquito is easily identifiable by its distinctive black and white stripes on body.
It prefers to breed in clean, stagnant water easily found in our homes. You can get rid of the Aedes mosquito by frequently checking and removing stagnant water on your premises.
Fortify yourself with a dengue vaccine that has been approved by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for individuals aged 12 to 45 years. Individuals should consult their doctor if they wish to find out more about their suitability for the dengue vaccine.
- Turn over water storage containers. This prevents water from collecting inside. Domestic storage containers have been the top mosquito breeding habitat in the past three years.
- Change water in vases and bowls on alternate days. The female Aedes mosquito prefers to breed in clean, stagnant water.
- Remove water from flower pot plates on alternate days. Clean and scrub the plate thoroughly to remove mosquito eggs.
- Loosen soil from potted plants to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water on the surface of the hardened soil.
- Clear blockages and put Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) insecticide in roof gutters monthly. BTI is a biological control agent that manages mosquito breeding.
Blockages could result in the buildup of stagnant water. Add prescribed amounts of sand granular insecticide monthly even if the gutters are dry.
- Use mosquito repellent and dress in clothing with your arms and legs covered. When used properly, repellents are safe for kids and adults alike.
- Cover your baby's crib, stroller and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
- Keep in mind that even though some of them are classified as pesticides by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), repellents don't kill mosquitoes. So you may still see these annoying insects buzzing about. Repellents simply make it more difficult for mosquitoes to find you.
- Structural barrier such as window screen or insecticide-treated netting can be installed at home as a physical barrier to prevent mosquitoes from entering into house.
To make things easier, here are some effective items from NaturesWisdom that will help you and your family defeat dengue.
Convenient travel size spray used to temporarily protect and relieve minor skin irritations and itching due to insect bites.
From hiking in the deep woods to lounging in the backyard, Herbal armor DEET-free, Natural Insect Repellent is an effective and safe solution that uses a unique and extremely effective mixture of six essential oils (soybean, citronella, peppermint, cedar, lemongrass and geranium), to naturally protect you and your family from mosquitoes and other pesky insects. Environmentally friendly continuous spray delivery system is non-flammable and does not negatively affect the ozone layer. It can spray easily and consistently in any direction at any angle.
Keep your kids and your family safe and protected against mosquitoes by using All Terrain Kids Herbal Armor DEET-free natural insect repellent formula. It’s ideal for active kids and families on the go to enjoy outdoor activities. The independently proven non-irritating suitable for children with sensitive skin. The use of a unique and extremely effective mixture of six essential oils (soybean, citronella peppermint, cedar, lemongrass and geranium) is providing you safe and effective, environmentally-friendly, cruelty-free protection.
Relieves and soothes minor skin irritations caused by insect bites.
These super sticks are made with geraniol, lemongrass, citronella, rosemary, thyme and geranium oil and effectively repel insects when lit. One stick burns approximately an hour with a pleasant fragrance and these are ideal as an outdoor area protection during backyard barbecues, picnics, camping and other outdoor activities.
Mosquitoes are buzzing all around us. But we don't need to fall prey to them. Being proactive and taking preventive measures can help protect your family from these blood-sucking pests. The time is now to protect yourself and build a strong defence against dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.
For centuries, citronella has been used for a variety of purposes and best known as a natural insect repellent. Just a few drops in a burner, vaporizer, or diffuser. Works especially well if used by an open window. Citronella is a versatile essential oil and is a must for anyone who lives in a hot and humid environment.