Delhi Dengue Debacle: What You Can Do To Protect Yourself
The dengue fever has yet again returned to Delhi and the situation this year is no less challenging. Large number of cases are being reported from different parts of the city and Delhi has become a dengue capital. With the reporting of the sad loss of life of children, the situation has only become more worrisome. The frequent rainfall events in the last few days has only made the situation more complex thereby making it an even bigger challenge to tackle the dengue crisis and bring it under control.
As with all vector borne diseases, it is important to become aware of the ways through which dengue can spread before we can actually control it. Since every citizen of Delhi is equally at threat from dengue, it becomes every citizens’ responsibility to become aware and help find a solution to this public health problem. Here is some basic information that you must know about the dengue mosquito Aeges aegypti (Information via CDC).
- The dengue mosquito lays its eggs on the walls of water-filled containers in the house and patio
- The eggs hatch when submerged in water and can survive for months
- Female mosquitoes lay dozens of eggs up to 5 times during their life time
- The mosquito life cycle, from egg to larvae, pupae, and to an adult mosquito, takes 8 days and occurs in water. Adult mosquitoes live for one month
- Adult mosquitoes usually rest indoors in dark areas (closets, under beds, behind curtains); only female mosquitoes bite humans
- The dengue mosquito can fly several hundred yards looking for water-filled containers to lay their eggs
- A few mosquitoes per household can produce large dengue outbreaks
- The dengue mosquito does not lay eggs in ditches, drainages, canals, wetlands, rivers or lakes; pouring chlorine into these habitats is useless. Chlorine is harmful to aquatic life
The best way to safeguard yourself is to ensure that you DO NOT allow any breeding ground for mosquitoes around your house or work place. Old tyres, empty pots, unused and discarded containers lying in the open, etc. are all containers which can accumulate rain water, into which the dengue mosquito can then lay its eggs. It is extremely important that you form a small team and make a trip around your house, looking for anything which can store or hold water and empty any stagnant water that you find.
A favourite place of the dengue mosquito to lay eggs is inside cooler that are not being used but still contain water. A cooler seems to be a closed box and many people do not check it for mosquitoes. This makes it an even more inviting place for the dengue mosquito to lay its eggs. The inside of all coolers in and around houses and work places (especially in work places) must be immediately dried and cleaned.
One must also ensure that you do not expose your body parts to the mosquitoes. Wearing of shorts and short sleeve dresses must be avoided in this season. Use of mosquito repellent devices may also be used. Using mosquito net may not help since the dengue mosquito is known to bite during the day time. Growing of medicinal plants, like the ever-useful tulsi plant, near the windows and in the balconies may help as it is known to act as a natural repellent to the dengue mosquito.
Last, but never the least, always eat healthy and fresh and keep your immunity high at all times. A good immunity helps fights all diseases and ensures that even if you are infected with some disease causing organism, it is that organism and not you..who has to fight harder for survival!
Image by Ian Jacobs via Flickr over CC