September 13th, 2017
With the prevalence of dengue fever cases in recent years, the susceptibility of our children becoming victims of this tropical and potentially fatal disease is more real than ever. Taking the necessary steps to prevent the Aedes mosquito (responsible for spreading dengue) from breeding is important when it comes to safeguarding your children’s health and well-being, especially since there is currently no specific medicine or immunisation for dengue fever. The first step parents can take is to sort out fact from fiction regarding the disease. To help you paint a clearer picture, here are some good-to-know facts and commonly misconstrued information about dengue.
Dengue only strikes in certain zones, namely the hot spot: MYTH
While it is true that living in or within the vicinity of a dengue cluster naturally increases your risk of getting the disease, the small land area of our island means that the disease can easily spread from one corner to another. While avoiding zones where dengue is reported and rife is a good preventive measure, all it takes is one infected individual to transform an area into a dengue hot spot, so taking additional steps to protect your kid is necessary.
Certain blood types attracts mosquitoes more than others: FACT
It’s true – mosquitoes are aiming for you more so than your friends, and maybe your blood is ‘sweeter’ after all. Research shows that they find certain blood types more appetizing than others, with a particular preference for Type O blood, followed by B and then A. Other factors that play a role in making you more delicious (and prone to dengue) are carbon dioxide exhaled, lactic acid found in sweat, and body heat and scent.
Mosquito repellent patches and wristbands gives us immunity: MYTH
It is not uncommon for boxes of repellent patches to fly off the shelves during every outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases. Adhered to your child’s skin, clothes, or even bedroom door, they are scented with citronella, peppermint or similar oils, which are natural ingredients that help prevent mosquitoes from smelling humans, biting them, and in turn reducing the risk of contracting dengue. However, sweat and contact with water may reduce their effectiveness, while a wristband doesn’t deter mosquitoes from biting other areas.
Dengue is more easily contracted during certain times of the day: FACT
Most mosquitoes use the cover of darkness to strike their victims, but the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are day biters and bite primarily during the two hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset. That said, they can still bite at night in well-lit areas, so keep your child protected throughout the day with special attention to the peak biting hours.
Read more about Dengue in our Junior Health feature, available in the Sept/Oct issue of Parents World magazine.
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