Saturday, August 6th, 2016

7 important tips to keep dengue at bay

Rajkumari Tankha | August 6, 2016 3:32 pm Print
All it takes is a little bit of extra precaution. We tell you seven easy ways of preventing the disease

There has been a spurt in number of dengue cases in the last month. Many people have been affected, 550 cases have already been reported from Mumbai, while Delhi has already had 120 cases of dengue so far.
While authorities and hospitals are doing their bit, it is time that people also do their bit to protect themselves from the deadly disease. All it takes is a little bit of extra precaution. We tell you seven easy ways of preventing the disease. Most of us are quite aware of these simple measures but are quite careless when it comes to adopting these. Don’t be. Be careful and keep yourself safe.

1. Prevent water stagnation
See to it that there is stagnation of water around your house/locality. Look around. If there are any pools of stagnant water fill those up with sand, or inform the municipal authorities and they will put in some medicines that kill the larvae of mosquitoes which are the carriers of the deadly virus.
At home too, do not keep water-filled buckets or containers. If you must, keep these properly covered. Fix any leaking taps in the bathroom and kitchen so that the area remains dry and water does not collected.

Similarly keep the mugs in the bathrooms and glasses in kitchen completely dry.
Keep water coolers dry. Monsoon is no time to use water coolers so remove all water from these.
If you are using air-conditioners to keep the humidity at bay, take care to keep the trays put underneath them completely dry.

On the terraces and in the garden, take care that water does not collect in potted plants. As it is plants do not need much water in this season. Watering plants once in two-three days is enough. IT will keep the soil moist enough without the chances of any water collection in pots.

2. Keep the dustbins covered
Always cover your dustbin. Keeping it open or using open baskets for throwing garbage is an open invitation to mosquitoes, flies and other disease-causing mosquitoes.

3. Use mosquito nets
In olden days, the use of mosquito nets was rampant. Your nani-dadi living in villages might still be using mosquito nets at night. Follow their wisdom, and put on the net around your bed. It will eliminate all chances of mosquitoes biting you while you sleep.

Also use wire mesh screens on windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering the rooms, while you enjoy the cool breeze of rainy days. I have seen most homes in villages having wire-mesh doors along with wooden ones, I don’t know why city people shy away from these.
Always use a mosquito net over sleeping infants and ensure that a net covers their stroller and crib too.

4. Apply mosquito repellents
Use any of the mosquito repellent creams available in the market, especially when you go out. Mosquito repellent liquidators are also widely available in the market and useful for driving out mosquitoes from the house. I remember, it was rule in our home to apply odomas every night. We detested its smell but we had no choice.

5. Cover your body fully
Ditch those skirts and shorts, even three-fourth pants and cut-sleeves. Keep yourself fully-covered. Put on full-sleeved clothes and full-length pants as much as possible so that most areas of your body are covered.
Most school authorities themselves order for full-sleep shirts and pants for students. But in case they don’t, request them.

6. Electronic devices
There are certain electronic devices to keep mosquitoes at bay or kill them. These include Electric Mosquito Zapper (a mechanical device that uses ultraviolet light to attract mosquitoes and then kills them), Mosquito Magnet (It mimics the ability of mammals to release odours, moisture and heat that attract mosquitoes. Once the mosquito/insect gets close to the magnet, it is sucked in and gradually dies due to dehydration), wrist bands and mosquito patches (Both use DEET. Wrist band is a wearable device containing chemicals that repel mosquitoes while mosquito patch is stuck on the arms to prevent mosquitoes from biting), mosquito repellent blankets (These contain chemical known as permethrin that attacks the nervous system of the mosquitoes). And table-top machines (these attract, trap and kill the disease-causing mosquitoes without emitting any odour or fog and is ideal for people with respiratory diseases as the traditional methods like coils, repellents and mosquito fumigators are known to cause health complications in these people).

7. Go natural
Apart from the mosquito repellents available in the markets there are few natural ways to get rid of mosquitoes like burning camphor, lighting lavender candles, using citronella or eucalyptus essential oil, placing cut lemon with cloves in it.

Keeping the tulsi plant near the window. Tulsi is extremely effective in killing mosquito larvae and keep mosquitoes away. According to Ayurveda simply planting a Tulsi shrub near your window is all you need to keep mosquitoes away. The plant has properties that not only help you to get rid of mosquitoes in your house but also prevent them from entering your house.
Even shrubs of mint, marigold, trees of lemon and neem and citronella grass are all extremely effective in preventing the breeding of mosquitoes and keeping you safe from dreaded vector-borne diseases; naturally.

Last but not the least, if anyone in your family or neighbourhood is suffering from dengue or shows symptoms like high fever and headache, consult your doctor immediately. Do not delay visiting a doctor as the number of blood platelets fall rapidly when one is affected with dengue and it can turn fatal sooner than you realize.

Remember, dengue is completely curable if treated on time.

Rajkumari Tankha
Rajkumari Tankha
The writer is a Delhi-based journalist. She has previously worked for Ministry of I & B (Govt of India), Hindustan Times and Special Audience Publications.