The monsoon season has set in, raising the threat of mosquito-borne diseases. such as dengue. Cases of dengue tend to surge during the rainy season due to stagnant water, which becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The dengue virus is transmitted to humans through an infected Aedes mosquitoes. It affects millions of people worldwide, with children being particularly vulnerable. So, if you are worried about how to keep children safe from dengue, we get your concern.
Dengue fever is characterized by symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, rash and fatigue. In some cases, it can progress to a more severe form known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be life-threatening, especially for children. As a result, protecting children from this debilitating illness becomes essential.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Anamika Dubey, Senior Consultant, MBBS, MD Pediatrics, Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, to know how you can protect your kids from dengue. Dr Dubey says, “Dengue is a virus that is spread by mosquito bites, and children are particularly vulnerable to the severe effects of it. Hence, in order to keep your children protected, you should be careful of several things.”
Here are 7 ways to keep your children safe from dengue:
Aedes mosquitoes, the primary carriers of dengue, breed in stagnant water. To minimize the risk of mosquito breeding around your home, it is important to identify and eliminate potential breeding sites. Dr Dubey says, “Check your surroundings frequently for any stagnant water sources, such as flower pots, buckets, and discarded tires, and clean them up immediately.” Additionally, keep gutters clean and properly drained to prevent water accumulation.
Applying mosquito repellents to exposed skin can significantly reduce the likelihood of mosquito bites. When choosing a repellent for your child, opt for those specifically formulated for children and follow the instructions provided. Common active ingredients include DEET, picaridin, citronella, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. Make sure to apply the repellent evenly and avoid the eyes, mouth, and hands.
Encourage your child to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and closed-toe shoes, especially during peak mosquito activity times, such as early morning and late afternoon, and especially during monsoon season. Light-colored clothing may also help deter mosquitoes. While it may be challenging in hot climates, choosing lightweight and loose-fitting garments can provide some protection while ensuring comfort.
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To create a barrier between your child and mosquitoes, keep windows and doors shut, as well as use bed nets. These protective measures can significantly reduce the risk of mosquito bites, especially during sleep or resting periods. Moreover, use fans or air conditioning to maintain a cool indoor atmosphere because mosquito activity tends to decline in cooler weather.
Outdoor activities, especially during the peak hours of mosquito breeding season, such as rainy weather, should be avoided. During this time, water accumulates in several areas, which are common nesting grounds for mosquitoes that spread dengue. So, restrict your child’s outdoor activities during this time, and if it is essential to go out, ensure they are sufficiently covered with clothing and insect repellant.
Teaching your child about the dangers of dengue and the importance of preventive measures is crucial. Explain the significance of avoiding mosquito bites and how to identify potential breeding sites. Dr Dubey says, “Encourage them to participate actively in mosquito control efforts, such as draining water containers or reminding family members to apply repellent.”
If your child develops dengue symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, or persistent vomiting, seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and appropriate medical care can help prevent the progression of dengue to a severe form. Follow the advice of healthcare professionals and provide your child with adequate rest, fluids, and medications as prescribed.
Protecting your child from dengue requires a multi-faceted approach that combines preventive measures and awareness. By eliminating mosquito breeding sites, using repellents, dressing appropriately, installing protective measures, educating your child, staying informed, and seeking medical attention when necessary, you can significantly reduce the risk of dengue transmission. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and prioritize your child’s health and well-being!