According to the Department of Health (DOH), there were over 146,062 dengue cases (and 622 deaths) from January to July 2019. The numbers grow each year, prompting the DOH to call it a national epidemic.
Dengue is more prevalent in crowded areas, but it can strike anyone and anywhere. In fact, it nearly took the life of my own child.
My eldest son had dengue twice. His second case was more severe, and he stayed in the hospital for almost a week. Even after he recovered, I was more vigilant about his health. I learned that one of the dengue complications is a selenium deficiency, so I made sure to give him organic milk that contained that nutrient. I’ve also been more vigilant about preventing dengue at home. Here are some of my tips.
Watch out for places where mosquitoes can breed and multiply
Mosquitos will lay eggs in stagnant water. This can collect in the garden and roof gutters, but also indoors: pails, the drains, vases, and potted plants. They also tend to stay in dark corners, like behind curtains, beds, and book cases.
The Department of Infectious Diseases at Singapore General Hospital has developed a Dengue Prevention checklist to wipe out mosquitos from your home:
- Use insecticide sprays in dark corners, and burn mosquito-repellent oils
- Cover water storage containers, or turn them upside down when not in use
Every other day
- Change water in bowls and vases
- Loosen soil in potted plants to prevent water from stagnating on the surface
- Clear fallen leaves and stagnant water from the garden and drains
- Drain stagnant water from airconditioners and humidifiers
- Clear roof gutters
- Spray insecticide in gully traps and roof gutters
Use organic mosquito repellents
Be careful about using insecticides inside the house, especially in your child’s bedroom and play area. You can use for natural, organic repellents. Here are some organic oils that can keep mosquitos away.
- Citronella lotion. A study found that a 100% citronella ointment provides protection from three kinds of mosquitos for up to 120 minutes in a laboratory setting. However, pure citronella can irritate the skin, and some children are sensitive to it. Do a patch test before applying it all over the body.
- Essential oils like lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme, basil, neem, and clove. It’s not always safe to apply pure essential oils directly on your child’s skin, especially if they were not cosmetic-grade (or, cleared for use on the body). Use these in air diffusers or buy scented candles instead.
Get plants that repel mosquitos
According to The Practical Planter, mosquitos don’t like the smell of these plants. Use them to drive away the bugs and freshen up your home. Place them near entrances and windows, or dark corners where mosquitos may hide.
- Lemon balm
Save the orange peels!
Mosquitos don’t like the smell of oranges. Make your own insect repellent spray by soaking orange peels in a white vinegar solution for two weeks.
Turn on the fans
Blow them away, literally – the air from electric fans can help dispel mosquitos.
These small changes can help dengue-proof your home. However, don’t forget other precautions like using insect repellent lotion or patches, and boosting your child’s immune system.
About The Writer
Rochelle Miko Kawasaki started sharing her life experiences through blogging back in 2013. She’s a full-time mother of 4 wonderful children -- Nikolas, Ethan, Elijah, and Eliana – who she always talks about in her posts. Her blog tackles family, travel, lifestyle, fitness, and her home. In 2018, she also ventured into vlogging, where she shares her travels and achievements, and tries to inspire everyone to continue with life despite the challenges. Get to know her more as you follow her on her every day journey, and discover more of life’s wonders together.