5 Things You Can Do To Keep The Home Mosquito- and Dengue-Free
No matter how well-designed and comfortable your home is, the presence of pesky insects can easily spoil the mood. The worst part? Insects are known carriers of viruses that can put the lives of your loved ones in danger.
Mosquitoes, in particular, are to be avoided at all costs, especially now with the onset of the rainy season. According to Dr. May Montellano, a pediatrician at Mary Chiles Hospital and FEU Hospital, mosquitoes carry a host of viruses that cause illnesses like dengue, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, Zika, West Nile fever, malaria, filariasis, and many others. Some of these conditions can even be fatal. In April, a Pinoy dad who lost his 15-year-old daughter to Japanese encephalitis (JE) warned fellow parents about the dangers of JE in a touching Facebook post. He also urged his fellow parents to get the vaccine for their kids.
As for dengue fever, statistics show that the Philippines is one of four countries in the Western Pacific with the highest incidence of dengue in recent years, according to the Department of Health. From January to August 2016 alone, there have been more than 80,000 suspected cases in the country.
"Everybody, young and old, can get these infections. Children are prone to them especially when they play outdoors," warns Dr. Montellano. Aside from keeping your surroundings and the home clean to prevent mosquitoes from breeding, here are a few other practical tips to keep your home safe:
1. Plant mosquito-repelling plants in your yard.
Citronella is known to ward of mosquitoes, but it's not the only plant with this benefit. Basil, with its strong smell, and marigolds, also do the job. A few drops of neem oil (extracted from the fruit or seeds of the neem tree) on a burner also make for an effective and natural insecticide.
2. Get rid of the source with a Mosquito Ovicidal/Larvicidal Trap.
The Department of Science and Technology developed a breakthrough product in 2012, a contraption that works by attracting the female mosquitoes to lay their egg on a solution-soaked stick, which kills the hatched eggs upon contact. You can purchase this Philippine-made product by calling Czary Techno Industries at (02) 921-8978. It is also available in selected supermarkets.
Visit Smart Parenting to learn more.
3. Build a fish pond.
Got a space in your backyard that you can convert into a pond? Fill it up with mosquito fish which feed on mosquito larvae. Another option would be the Koi fish, which would help not only with your mosquito problem but in making your outdoor area extra pretty, too.
4. Install screens on windows and doors.
The quickest way to get rid of mosquitoes is to keep them out. This option also reinforces your house's security from other predators.
5. Invest in a mosquito zapper.
These rechargeable appliances kill mosquitoes on contact by electrocuting them. The handheld type is highly effective (and could get you some exercise, too!). Choose from a wide variety of designs and price points.
Find mosquito zappers at Wilcon Depot or any hardware store.
Does fumigation help?
A common practice to eliminate the presence of mosquitoes is fumigation, an exercise usually done on the barangay level. However, Dr. Florence Irena A. Atutubo, a pediatrician, clarifies that this process "does not kill insects; it just drives them out of the fumigated area. From a public-health standpoint, this is actually counter-productive. As a community with social responsibility, the focus should be on eliminating breeding areas for mosquitoes rather than just transferring the problem to another location." (source)
Moreover, an article by the Dailymail reports that there is no evidence that fumigation prevents the spread of dengue as the mosquitoes may be resistant to the chemicals.
Dr. Montellano says that the best way to fight the spread of dengue is still through prevention. "Apply mosquito-repelling lotions, wear clothes that cover your body, and keep your surroundings clean," she concludes. And should you notice anyone in the family exhibiting early symptoms of the disease, see a doctor immediately.
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