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Protect Yourself and Your Family Against Dengue

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 3, 2020 5:30:00 PM / by Strada Visual Lab

As Singapore experiences the rainy season, most of us enjoy the cooler weather, especially those who are still working from home. However, the torrential rains also give rise to some inconveniences, such as flooding, pedestrians drenched by the deluge despite carrying umbrellas, and delayed deliveries. With more rainfall comes the likelihood of stagnant puddles of water, which in turn become ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. This increases the chances of dengue spreading in the community. As dengue has severe symptoms and can be fatal if not properly treated, it is important that we do our part to ensure the safety of our family and neighbours.

What is dengue?

Dengue fever is a disease that is spread through the bite of the female Aedes mosquitoes, which can be recognised by the black and white stripes on its body.

 

dengue_mosquito

 

The virus is transmitted through the mosquito’s saliva, and infected people experience symptoms such as high fever, headaches, vomiting and nausea, muscle and joint pains, and skin rash. These symptoms do not appear immediately, and may take between three to fourteen days to manifest. With treatment, recovery usually takes two days to a week.

 

How is dengue diagnosed and treated?

In suspected cases of dengue, doctors can diagnose the illness through a blood test that detects the dengue virus or its antibodies. Should you experience any symptoms and suspect that you might have dengue, please seek immediate medical attention.

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), there is no specific treatment for dengue. Instead, treatment is focused on alleviating the symptoms that arise. For dengue fever and its more severe forms - dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, forms of treatment can include fluid and electrolyte replacement, and/or blood transfusions.

dengue_blood transfusion

 

Dengue on the rise in Singapore

In recent weeks, the number of dengue cases has risen sharply as we reach a new weekly high of 1,468 reported cases in the week ending on 27 June 2020. Experts believe that the number of cases this year is particularly high due to a variety of reasons. This includes the warm and wet weather which encourages mosquito breeding, and the congregation of people in residential areas during the Circuit Breaker period, which has provided mosquitoes with more accessible ‘blood meals’.

dengue_NEA number of cases from 2016 to 2020 graph

       Source: NEA (Retrieved on 3 July 2020)

 

The National Environmental Agency (NEA) has so far identified several dengue clusters: Woodleigh Close, Potong Pasir Avenue 1, Aljunied Road and Tampines Avenue 7 are among those with a significant number of cases. NEA also predicts that the weekly number of cases will continue to rise, and more dengue clusters are expected as well. While we continue to remain cautious and take action to protect ourselves and loved ones from COVID-19, let us also remember that dengue is still pervasive and can spread in densely populated areas.

dengue_little girl scratches mosquito bite with mosquitoes flying around

 

How can we prevent dengue?

There are two key ways to prevent the spread of dengue: preventing mosquito breeding and preventing transmission of the dengue virus.

How do we prevent the breeding of mosquitoes? All that mosquitoes need to breed in, is clean stagnant water the size of a twenty-cent coin. By ensuring that we remove all stagnant water from our potted plants, pails, and gutters, we reduce the available breeding sites for mosquitoes.

dengue_mozzie wipeout

           Source: NEA (Retrieved on 24 June 2020)

 

The dengue virus can spread from an infected person to a healthy individual. If an infected person is bitten by a mosquito, the virus can spread when the infected mosquito later bites a healthy person.

dengue_virus transmission

      Source: NEA (Retrieved 24 June 2020)

 

To avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, apply mosquito repellent regularly, especially if you are located near or within dengue clusters. Periodic reapplication is important as the repellent can wear off after some time with frequent movement or due to perspiration. Alternatively, using an electric repellent at home works as well. Check out some of our recommendations listed below:

 

Recommended mosquito repellents

Before you decide which type of repellent is best for you, it is important to know if the repellent is suitable for you and your family.

Most insect repellents contain an active ingredient known as diethyltoluamide, known simply as DEET. Our skin releases a volatile chemical that mosquitoes are able to smell, which in turn triggers their instinct to bite us. DEET works by reducing the volatility of the substance and thus helps mask the odorant that attracts mosquitoes to us. DEET is used in varying concentrations in different repellent sprays, and concentrations of 10% to 30% are recommended for young children. DEET is not recommended for infants aged two months and below. DEET can also cause skin irritation for people with allergies and sensitive skin.

With that in mind, here are some repellents you can consider! For liquid and spray types, don’t forget to test the repellent on a small area of skin to check if you might be allergic.

 

Liquid/spray types

Himawari Mosquito Repellent

dengue_himawari

🧪❌ Does not contain DEET

👶🏻 Suitable for children and babies

🌱 Uses natural ingredients

(Source: Shopee)

Himawari is a Japanese repellent brand that prides itself in using natural ingredients, including citronella, lavender and peppermint oils. The spray can be used directly on the skin as well as on clothes, and lasts up to three hours. However, due to its all-natural formula, the repellent might undergo changes in colour and fragrance, though it remains safe to use. The repellent also has a short shelf life, and should be discarded after a year.

 

Tiger Balm Mosquito Repellent Spray

dengue_tiger balm spray

🧪❌ Does not contain DEET

👶🏻 Suitable for children and babies

🌱 Uses natural ingredients

(Source: Shopee)

Tiger Balm is a well-known local brand famous for medical ointments and pain relief patches. Their mosquito repellent spray contains citronella oil, which has a floral, citrusy scent and doubles as a mosquito repellent. The repellent is also DEET-free, and is suitable for children. However, as the repellent contains Tiger Balm’s trademark formula, it may have a strong medicinal smell that is unappealing to some.

 

California Baby Citronella Bug Repellent Spray

dengue_california baby

🧪❌ Does not contain DEET

👶🏻 Suitable for children and babies

🌱 Uses natural ingredients

(Source: Shopee)

Similar to Tiger Balm and Himawari, California Baby’s repellent also uses natural ingredients and citronella and lemongrass oils. Not only that, the formula is also cruelty-free (not tested on animals), and is gluten, oat, soy, dairy and nut-free! It’s recommended that the repellent is reapplied every half hour, especially if you are outdoors. If you’re looking for a repellent that is both eco-friendly and ethically made, why not give California Baby a go?

 

Patches

Tiger Balm Mosquito Repellent Patch

dengue_tiger balm mosquito repellent patch

🧪❌ Does not contain DEET

👶🏻 Suitable for children and babies

🌱 Uses natural ingredients

(Source: Mothercare)

Think repellent spray, but in a patch form. Tiger Balm’s Mosquito Repellent Patch comes in the form of small discs that can be adhered to clothing. The patches come individually sealed and are easy to use. As the patch can be stuck on clothes and need not be directly applied to the skin, these are ideal for individuals with sensitive or rash-prone skin.

 

Electric repellents

Baygon Liquid Electric Mosquito Repellent

dengue_baygon liquid electric mosquito repellent

🧪❌ Does not contain DEET

(Source: Lazada)

Now, you might not be accustomed to the idea of applying repellent while you’re at home. Not to worry, because you can also consider an electric mosquito repellent that can be easily installed in each room. The liquid electric mosquito repellent works by vaporising the repellent and releasing it into the air. The formula is odourless and safe, and lasts up to 30 days when used 8 hours each day.

 

PowerPac Electronic Pest Repellent

dengue_powerpac electronic pest repellent

🧪❌ Does not contain DEET

👶🏻 Suitable for children and babies

(Source: PowerPac)

If you are worried about chemical inhalants, this electronic repellent is ideal for you. By using UV tubes that not only attract but also kill insects including mosquitoes, the PowerPac Electronic Pest Repellent is both effective and safe for you and your family. Do note that the device does not come with a spare UV light tube, and you will need to find your own replacement after it fuses. The repellent will also require a power source, and thus limits where you might be able to place it.

 

If you still feel troubled and worried about dengue fever and COVID-19, why not take additional measures and get yourself and your family insured? CaregiverAsia’s Great Value Protect (GVP) plan keeps you covered not only against diseases like COVD-19 and dengue fever, but also accidents, food poisoning, and other mosquito-related diseases.

Get coverage for Dengue and more!

 

Other articles you may like:

Handwashing Stops the Spread of Disease-causing Germs

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Child Everyday

Things You Did Not Know (And Should Know) About Viral Infections

 

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Topics: Wellness

Strada Visual Lab

Written by Strada Visual Lab

Strada is a creative agency that specialises in content production and marketing services. Our data and results-driven team of designers, writers and developers focus on building brands by having a 360 approach, from conception to production.

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