How can you prevent dengue?

Woman dies of dengue in Kolkata © Shutterstock

Most experts would agree that dengue is a dangerous disease. Therefore, it is best to prevent the ailment. We give you some simple ways to prevent the disease.

Dengue fever is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by dengue Viruses. Each year, an estimated 400 million people globally are infected with dengue Virus; about 100 million get progressively sick and 2.5% of those patients die. It is the fastest growing mosquito borne infection in the world.

"The World health organization (WHO) estimates that 40% of world's population is at risk of being infected due to environmental conditions and burden of disease; people of all age groups are at risk. Most people who are infected have mild or no symptoms. Mild symptoms of dengue may be confused with other illnesses that cause fever and flu-like symptoms," said Dr Mohammed Sakeel, HOD of Emergency and Trauma, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.

The most common symptoms are fever, and one or more of the following:

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1) Headache

2) Eye pain (typically behind the eyes)

3) Muscle, joint, or bone pain

4) Rashes

5) Nausea and vomiting

6) Unusual bleeding (nose or gum bleed, small red spots under the skin, or unusual bruising).

Warning signs: Watch for signs and symptoms of severe dengue, which develop 24-48 hours after initial fever goes away. If you or a family member develops any of these warning signs, go to a physician or nearest emergency department immediately:

1) Severe stomach pain or vomiting (at least 3 vomiting episodes within 24 hours)

2) Bleeding from the nose or gums

3) Vomiting blood, or blood in the stool

4) Drowsiness or irritability

5) Pale, cold, or clammy skin

6) Difficulty in breathing

Prevention of dengue:

Many government organizations are doing a lot to fight Dengue. Current efforts focus on prevention, such as using insecticides or reducing potential egg-laying habitats for Dengue mosquitoes. However, there is no vaccine to prevent Dengue Fever. Prevention of mosquito bite is very much essential, if you are living in or travelling to a tropical region. How you could protect yourself:

1) Stay away from heavily populated residential areas, if possible

2) Use mosquito repellents, even indoors

3) When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants

4) Make sure window and door screens are secure and free of holes

5) Use mosquito nets

6) Use insecticide sprays in dark corners (under the bed, sofa and behind curtains)

7) Loosen soil in potted plants to prevent accumulation of stagnant water on surface

8) Clear all stagnant water in and around your society

9) Turn over all water storage containers when empty and store them under a shelter

"To reduce the mosquito population, get rid of places where mosquitoes can breed, these include old tires, cans, or flower pots that collect rain water. Stay wise and keep your surroundings clean. Prevention of mosquito

breeding can save you from life threatening dengue," added Dr Sakeel.

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