With the weekly number of dengue cases in Singapore reaching a record high at 895 over five and a half days, it’s important to be aware of early symptoms of dengue and how to play a part in curbing the spread.
Read till the end for the 6 steps to protect yourself from dengue fever!
What is dengue fever?
Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four related dengue viruses. It used to be called ‘break-bone’ fever because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain that makes a person feel like their bones are breaking.
Mosquitoes become infected when they bite infected humans. The dengue virus is then transmitted from the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Dengue cannot be transmitted from person to person without a mosquito as the intermediate vector.
Symptoms of dengue usually start with fever within four to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Subsequent symptoms include
- high fever (up to 40.5 degrees Celsius)
- severe headache
- pain behind the eye
- severe joint and muscle pain
- nausea and vomiting
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever, and most people recover within two weeks. However, for severe dengue symptoms, early emergency treatment with fluid and electrolyte replacement is necessary to reduce the risk of mortality.
Most people who develop dengue fever recover within two weeks. However, feelings of tiredness and/or depression may last for several weeks to months post-infection. More severe cases of dengue fever may result in blood vessel and liver damage and can be life-threatening.
6 steps to protect yourself from dengue fever
The best way to protect yourself from the dengue virus infection is to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Take note that Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day - make sure that you take preventive measures against them, especially during early morning hours before dawn and in the late afternoon before dusk.
- Use a mosquito repellent
- Dress in protective clothing - long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes
- Keep surrounding areas free from free-standing water
- Wear long sleeves and light coloured clothes
- Close unscreened windows to prevent the mosquitoes from entering
- Get rid of all areas with standing water where mosquitoes can breed (e.g. plant pots)
3 things to consider when choosing a mosquito repellent
- Does it contain any harmful substances like DEET?
- Many synthetic repellents contain DEET which has corrosive properties and tagged by the US EPA to be "slightly toxic".Prolonged exposure is harmful to human skin and other organs. To avoid this, choose a mosquito repellent that doesn’t contain DEET.
- How many hours does the repellent effect last for?
- Mosquito repellent needs to be reapplied – hence, knowing how long a single spray lasts is important so that you can minimise unnecessary risk by reapplying before it wears off. Choose a long-lasting repellent that only requires one or two reapplications.
- How does it affect your skin?
- As mosquito repellent comes into contact with your skin, it’s important that the ingredients used in it are non-irritating. Take note of what ingredients are used – natural ingredients are less likely to trigger an unwanted skin reaction.
Looking for a mosquito repellent that has all of the qualities listed above? Check out our EASE Anti-Moz Mosquito Repellent ($6.30) - it is formulated with botanical-based oils that naturally repel mosquitoes, provides long-lasting protection of up to 8 hours. The bonus? It contains aloe vera, which leaves your skin soft and hydrated!