Dengue virus kills hundreds each year, what can you do to stay protected?


The heat and humidity are back, so is the threat of dengue as mosquitoes breed in these conditions. Every year by the end of June, dengue ends up affecting thousands of people and claiming hundreds of lives. In 2017 dengue had affected around 1,88,401 people and killed around 325 people across the country. In 2018 by June dengue had already affected around 14,233 people across the country. While these cases have significantly reduced since 2017, the worst year, further prevention can help win the battle  this season.

What causes Dengue?

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector that transmits the viruses that cause dengue. These viruses are passed on to humans because of the bites of an infective female Aedes mosquito, which mainly acquires the virus by biting a person already infected with a dengue virus. Once humans are infected, they become the main carriers and multipliers of the virus, serving as a source of the virus for uninfected mosquitoes.  

When is Dengue season?

According to Deepak Kumar Selvanathan MBBS, DNB – General Medicine, PK Multispeciality Hospital, “Hospitals see an increase in the admission of dengue virus-infected patients from late May and the trend continues till the end of monsoon, though some number of cases are seen till the month of December.” Dr Deepak adds, “One of the specialities of this particular breed of mosquito is that they breed in clean water”, making monsoon the perfect season, and flooded areas the perfect ground to breed.

How can you stop your environment from becoming a breeding ground?

water logging that helps dengue mosquito beed

Water logging should be avoided in and around your house. Any household item or outdoor space collecting water should be clean and sanitized on a regular basis. These spaces can otherwise become stagnant water sources in which these mosquitoes breed. According to Dr Mayank Uppal, Consultant Medicine at Sitaram Bhartia, “Apart from changing the water in these items, ensure that they are cleaned and scrubbed to remove any eggs that may have been laid out by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes.” For the places where waterlogging cannot be prevented, Dr Uppal suggests adding kerosene oil on the water surface. “Kerosene oil has an ability to spread and create a thin film on water surfaces. This creates a barrier for respiration and the larvae or the eggs laid by the mosquitoes are killed due to suffocation,” he adds.

Early signs of Dengue fever.

Dengue causes flu-like symptoms and lasts for 2-7 days. The fever usually occurs after an incubation period of 4-10 days after the bite of the infected mosquito. High Fever is usually accompanied by at least two of the following symptoms
· Headaches
· Pain behind eyes
· Nausea, vomiting
· Swollen glands
· Joint, bone or muscle pains
· Rash
According to the World Health Organisation “When dengue starts developing into severe dengue, the critical phase takes place around 3-7 days after the first sign of illness. The temperature will decrease;
this does NOT mean the person is necessarily recovering. On the other hand, special attention needs to be given to these warning signs as it could lead to severe dengue.”

Some of the symptoms of severe Dengue are,
· Severe abdominal pain
· Persistent Vomiting
· Bleeding gums · Fatigue


Apart from keeping the environment clean and healthy, extra precaution must be taken to prevent dengue fever.
1. Wear clothes that cover your entire body, especially when outside or if you are living in a neighbourhood identified as a dengue cluster or a mosquito-prone area. Fully covered clothing can significantly lower the chances of getting bitten by dengue-carrying mosquitos.

2.Use skin friendly mosquito repellent, dengue-virus carrier mosquitoes are known to bite in the day time. It is important to wear mosquito repellent throughout the day. Dr Mayank suggests to “Look for effective, safe and skin-friendly ingredients. Generally, ingredients like DEET and IR3535 are safe to use even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.”

3. Prevent water logging as mentioned above.

4.Keep the doors and windows closed as much as possible during the fever season. Mosquito nets are also a safer alternative to mosquito repellent machines and creams, while sleeping.

5. :The mosquitoes that fight this disease.

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