Tips to protect your family from dengue and chikungunya
With intermittent rains hitting parts of the country for the past two months, the risk of mosquitoes thriving increases with each passing day. As a result, more and more people are falling prey to diseases like dengue and chikungunya transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Here we provide some tips to protect yourself and your family from these viral diseases this monsoon.
Dengue, also known as "breakbone" disease, is a mosquito-borne disease that causes fever and intense headaches. It is transmitted to humans usually by the bite of female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. There are four kinds of dengue viruses. Symptoms of dengue usually appear 4-10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. In critical dengue cases, white blood cell counts reduce considerably.
Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus that causes a sudden onset of fever and severe joint pains. It's passed to humans by two species of mosquitoes of the genus Aedes: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. Symptoms usually appear 2-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Currently, no vaccine or antiviral treatment exists but supportive care is recommended. The disease is rarely fatal.
Some symptoms of dengue include flu, headache, pain behind eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, and rashes. Symptoms of chikungunya include abdominal pain, pain in the back of the eyes, joints and/or muscle pain, fever, chills, fatigue and headache. If any of these symptoms persist even after a week, please don't delay. Consult a doctor immediately and get a blood test done.
To avoid the breeding of mosquitoes, don't let water stagnate in your premises. Regularly change the water in your cooler. Always use mosquito repellent on exposed regions of the body during day and night. Also, use mosquito net while sleeping. Install window screens or block unnecessary holes in windows/doors to stop mosquitoes from entering your house. Wear light-colored clothes, preferably long sleeves and full-length.
There are natural ways to keep mosquitoes away. These include growing a tulsi plant near windows to avoid mosquitoes from breeding. To tackle mosquito menace in your bedroom, burn camphor with some neem oil drops and keep the room closed for 15-20 minutes. A mixture of coconut and neem oil also acts as a mosquito repellent, which can be applied to the body.
Apart from taking measures to prevent dengue and chikungunya, there are certain fruits and vegetables that can help you combat these viruses, in case you have been bitten by an infected mosquito. Pomegranate juice and coconut water increase blood platelets in the body. Vitamin C-rich papaya also increases blood platelet count and decreases the dengue effect. Others include pumpkin, tomatoes, orange, and spinach.