Dengue is a frequent and frustrating mosquito-borne viral infection that India is all too familiar with. It is transmitted by the female mosquito, Aedesaegypti and symptoms begin to develop four to six days after the infection. Children, having weaker immune systems, are more susceptible to severe dengue infections. To understand what can be done to prevent it, let’s first look at the symptoms of dengue fever –
1. Fever – May or may not be high grade
2. Severe Headache
3. Body Ache (in the muscles, bones, joints, and even behind the eyes)
4. Skin Rashes
5. Nausea, poor appetite
6. Bleeding Condition
If you or your child have the above symptoms, to be on the safer side, find a child specialist doctor near you and get a blood test to test for the dengue infection. However, as a precautionary measure and to help protect your children and your home from dengue mosquitos, try incorporating these steps into your lifestyle-
1) Eliminate all stagnant water – Dengue mosquitos breed in clean standing water that could be around your house. If inside your house you have any kind of filled buckets kept, make sure they are completely covered and not exposed, to not attract mosquitos. If in your garden or balcony you have a kiddie pool, fountain, birdbath, etc, make sure you drain it around dengue season. Moreover, do not let your child go to pools or parks without adequate protection.
2) Wear long-sleeved clothes – Covering your arms and legs to the maximum prevents mosquito bites and hence, reduces your child’s chances of contracting the infection. Studies have shown that mosquitos can bite through tight clothing so make sure that the clothes are loose and comfortable. Further, wear lighter colours as mosquitos are more attracted to darker colours because of their heat retention properties.
3) Use effective mosquito repellents – Mosquito repellent options today are endless and come in varied forms of patches, gels, sprays, creams, etc. Whichever brand and type you choose to go for, make sure it is trusted and research to ensure that it is effective against dengue mosquitos.
4) Keep all doors and windows closed – If you have unscreened doors or windows, make sure they are tightly shut throughout the day to stop any mosquitos from entering. Alternatively, get bug prevention screens installed in your house.
5) Ensure frequent fogging in your residential area – Most colony associations already have guidelines in place for the practice of frequent fogging or other pesticide and mosquito dispersion methods. If they don’t, write to your RWA head and make sure this measure is adopted into their protection agenda.
While nothing can definitively protect your child from being bitten by a dengue mosquito, all of these measures can greatly help. If unfortunately your child contracts this infection, find a child doctor near you to help with diagnosis and treatment. While no vaccine exists for dengue, there are several effective treatment measures.
Do not ignore fever this season. In case of persistent high grade fever without symptoms consult your pediatrician. It is always better to be safe. Early diagnosis and treatment yields good result.