The focus on dengue and other diseases has been overshadowed by Covid-19. (MD 2.0 picture)
Unfortunately, as people around the world adjust to the new post-Covid-19 normality, efforts to contain other diseases have had to take a back seat.
A total of 1,361 dengue cases were reported in Malaysia alone, bringing the total number of reported cases to 75,804 as of September this year.
One dengue death was reported in September, with a cumulative number of 124 deaths in 2020.
These statistics were recently shared with the launch of MamyPoko Extra Dry Protect, the world’s first anti-mosquito diaper.
With lemongrass extract in microcapsules, these new diapers can repel mosquitoes – which is definitely useful for parents who live near dengue hotspots or stay near construction sites.
Simple preventive measures, however, can go a long way towards keeping the family and children free of dengue.
In an interview with FMT, the consulting pediatrician Dr. Rakhee Yadav, who was present at the start: “Parents should take extra precautions when taking their children to the parks and playgrounds or for morning walks, as mosquitoes at dusk and dawn are usually the times when Aedes Mosquitoes are active. “
Dr. Yadav also shared some helpful dengue information and tips for parents to better protect their youngsters.
How does dengue fever spread?
Aedes mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. (Muhammad Mahdi Karim picture)
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Countries like Malaysia are a hotspot due to the climate and the falls during the monsoon season (from October to February).
Dengue fever does not spread from person to person, but via the female Aedes mosquito, which breeds in stagnant water in most residential areas.
It takes a small amount of water – the size of a 50 sen coin – to breed these mosquitoes in just a few hours.
Empty pots, containers, old tires, unused trash cans, neglected ponds, and even water tanks can be breeding grounds. A lack of reliable sanitation and regular rubbish collection also contribute to the spread of mosquitoes.
An infected person who is bitten by a mosquito may then infect others with the mosquito within 12 days of being bitten.
What are the symptoms of dengue fever?
It is important that you give your doctor as much information as you can as it will help detect it. (Happiest baby picture)
Dengue fever can vary from mild to severe forms such as dengue shock syndrome and dengue hemorrhagic fever.
These severe forms of dengue fever are potentially fatal and can be very difficult to treat.
In mild cases, some children have only a mild fever, but in some cases there are no symptoms at all.
However, some children may become more symptomatic and experience a fever, body pain, nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, poor diet, and the occasional cough and runny nose.
There are also cases when children experience bleeding gums, bruises, or even skin rashes.
These can be very non-specific symptoms that are difficult to diagnose, especially in younger children who are unable to express their pain out loud.
Dengue symptoms in children can vary. (CDC picture)
Once infected, a child goes through three stages of dengue fever.
Symptoms can appear within two to ten days after being bitten by a mosquito and last between three and seven days.
This first phase is known as the febrile phase. After the fever subsides, patients then enter the second phase, known as defervescence or critical phase, for an additional 24 to 72 hours.
You eventually go to the third phase known as the recovery phase, which is when the fever has subsided and some children may develop an itchy red rash all over their bodies. This is not a permanent rash and will resolve on its own within a week.
Each of these phases and days of illness can appear differently for each child.
Therefore, it is important to provide your doctor with the best medical history so that they can anticipate your child’s illness and so that any red flag detection is treated promptly and appropriately.
How can the risk of dengue infection be minimized?
As mentioned again and again, prevention is better than cure. (Galitskaya picture)
Here are some of the precautions parents can take:
- Wear long sleeves and pants outdoors, use mosquito repellant (spray, lotion, or even patches containing 20% -30% diethyltoluamide or DEET and reapply if necessary), and avoid areas with a lot of mosquitos.
- Another important aspect is keeping your home and surroundings clean and avoiding things that can collect water, such as empty containers.
- Fogging is another method ordered by the Department of Health in areas of the red zone or an area where a case has been identified.