July 16, 2024

■  Hanna C. Lacsamana   

To keep communities safe from the dengue-carrying mosquitoes, the Department of Health-Cordillera is reminding the public to keep their surroundings clean and arm themselves with the four walls of defense against dengue.

The DOH has issued the reminder as part of the observance of June as National Dengue Awareness Month, which emphasizes on the need to eliminate the aedes mosquito.

The importance of the often heard and promoted 4S cannot be overemphasized, as DOH believes it remains the best line of defense and strategy to stop the dengue transmission and keep communities dengue-free.

Dr. Alexander Baday, DOH-Cordillera entomologist III, said this year’s theme is “Stop the spread, go sa 4S kontra dengue”, which highlights the 4S and the community’s participation in its practice to make it effective.

He said the first line of defense means actively maintaining clean surroundings through “Search and destroy mosquito breeding sites”.

Being an all-year round disease, Baday said dengue is exacerbated during the rainy season since mosquitoes breed on stagnant water.

“Rainy days increases the risk of dengue infection. Aside from visible containers, remember the hidden containers that are filled up when it rains. We just not destroy, but search first. Remember that mosquitoes are living organisms that want to survive, and they are good in adopting when given a site to breed,” he said.

Baday explained the aquatic stage of a mosquito is seven to 10 days in the water, and therefore habitual search and destroy at least once a week is recommended so that the larvae would no longer become a mosquito and would no longer be able to transmit dengue.

“The seven to 10 days when a mosquito cannot survive outside water is a window of opportunity for us to prevent it from transmitting diseases,” he said.

However, mosquito eggs deposited in containers still can survive for eight months so it is important to scrub the inner sides of containers that are not in use because it is possible for these eggs to survive once it is again filled with water.

“With this window of opportunity, it is easier for us to prevent mosquitoes compared to when these have already become adult and flying around to bite,” he said.

How to destroy breeding sites?

Either remove the container, or cover it, or coordinate for larviciding with rural health units.

He reminded unused tires lying around are another culprit as it is a common hub for mosquito breeding. These have to be disposed of properly or if it is not possible, make sure these are not filled up with water.

The second line of defense, “secure self-protection”, involves wearing light-colored and loose clothes.

Baday said dark colors attract mosquitoes and fitted clothes allow them to bite with the small space between the cloth and the skin.

“This is particularly advised as well among students who wear skirts as uniform, where usually schools at times suspend wearing such since aedes mosquitoes bite below and behind.They are ankle biters.”

Third, “seek early consultation” to avoid severe dengue that can lead to death.

“Consult immediately with a physician when experiencing fever for two days and the symptoms. Remember, one of the reasons for death due to dengue is late consultation,” Baday said.

While having fever may not always be due to dengue but other diseases, he said a sick person still has to consult a doctor who will advise on what to do or whether there is a need to be admitted in the hospital.

Lastly, “support fogging in hotspot areas”.

Baday said fogging operations are done to eliminate the mosquito population infected with dengue and only when there is an outbreak or impending outbreak based on surveillance.

“If we do this, we can curb the increase of dengue cases in the community. Remember this is a shared responsibility so we ask the constituents to participate and help in the prevention and control of dengue. It is for ourselves, our family, and the community,” he said.