National Dengue Day 2022: How to protect yourself and your kids from the breakbone feverPublished on: 16 May 2022, 16:13 pm IST
Dengue cases are seeing a surge in Karnataka and since January this year, 1,352 cases of dengue have been reported, according to the Health and Family Welfare Department. In fact, the Health department has asked everyone to take dengue fever seriously because monsoon season is just around the corner. Coincidentally, May 16 every year is observed as National Dengue Day, in order to “create awareness about dengue, and intensify preventive measures and preparedness for the control of disease in the country before transmission season starts,” as per the National Health Portal of India.
What is dengue?
It is a mosquito-borne viral infection which is caused when an infected Aedes mosquito bites. It is also known as breakbone fever and spreads when the weather is warm and humid. The dengue mosquito finds the ideal conditions during the monsoon season and it is generally active during the day, affecting both children or adults. The main symptoms of dengue include high fever, pain behind the eyes, severe headache, muscle or joint pain, nausea and vomiting.
How is it different from yellow fever?
Both dengue fever and yellow fever are similar in nature as they are caused by mosquito-transmitted viruses. Both are prevalent in tropical conditions and have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, body aches, nausea, and/or vomiting.
However, one main difference between both of them is that yellow fever leads to jaundice in patients, which is why it is named so. If left untreated, it can cause liver and kidney failure, and even death.
How to prevent dengue
While there is no specific remedy or vaccine to protect against dengue, you can always adopt several protective measures at home to keep yourself and your children safe:
1. Destroy mosquito habitat
The first and foremost thing to do is to destroy potential mosquito breeding places, especially standing water like buckets, water tanks, air coolers etc. Do not keep stagnant water at any place and in this way, you can lower your chance of increasing mosquito populations. Keep your surroundings clean so that the exposure to mosquitoes is less.
2. Promote plantation
For those caught unaware, there are several mosquito-repelling plants that expel natural gasses. Plants such as tulsi, eucalyptus, lemongrass, neem etc will prevent mosquitoes from entering your house. Keep them closer to your door and windows.
2. Spray pesticides or use camphor
Keep spraying pest spray every alternate day at your home, in order to kill dengue mosquitoes and destroy their unhatched eggs. You can also use camphor as an alternative to mosquito repellent as camphor smoke has the ability to kill pests that spread diseases.
In order to protect children from dengue fever:
1. Use the right mosquito repellent
For babies over 2 months, use repellents with active ingredients that are made with a delicate formula. Make sure they are gentle on the baby’s skin, and are proven safe and effective against mosquito bites.
2. Add immunity-boosting foods in their diet
A strong immunity is needed to fight against dengue. Add fruits and veggies like broccoli, apart from having turmeric, yogurt, ginger, garlic, and almonds. Keep the children hydrated by giving them fluids and an enriching diet.
3. Wear clothes that cover you fully
Make sure your children wear protective clothing like long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts and pants, so that the exposed skin is minimum.
4. Use a mosquito net
The most effective way to protect your children from dengue is to make them sleep under a properly sealed mosquito net bed.
5. Know the symptoms
Last but not the least, identification of symptoms will help both children and adults get timely treatment before it’s too late. Also, do not hesitate to call a doctor if dengue symptoms persist.