How to Prevent Dengue Infection and Safeguard Your Home
Singapore/ Ohana/ Health & Wellness

Dengue Prevention: How to Avoid Infection and Safeguard the Home

Dengue 04 Photo by Jesus Hernandez

In an article published on April 12, The Straits Times reported an increase in the number of Dengue cases in Singapore, with more than 5,500 people contracting the infection within the first three months of 2024. In the same article, Professor Hsu Li Yang, an infectious diseases expert at the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, mentioned that the rise in cases could be attributed to different factors, one of which is the heat being experienced in the city-state.

Dengue fever is spread through the bite of the Aedes mosquito. While a huge number of those infected with Dengue are asymptomatic, it can lead to hospitalization. In some cases, it can evolve into severe Dengue and may even be fatal. Some of the symptoms of the viral disease include fever, intense headache, body aches, joint pains, skin rashes, and nausea, among others.

To prevent contracting Dengue, it's important to know important must-dos you can do to safeguard your health and protect your home from the disease. From as simple as using insect repellents to ensuring there is no standing water near your home, these essential measures can be your first line of defense against Dengue.

How to Prevent Contracting Dengue:

To avoid getting sick, the National Environment Agency (NEA) suggests keeping “S-A-W” in mind as these three letters stand for protective actions against Dengue.

  • Spray insecticides in dark corners around your home, including nooks and crannies where mosquitoes can be hiding. Make sure you spray under the bed, the sofa, and behind your curtains, too.
  • Apply insect repellent regularly. Don’t just use any repellent! Use one with DEET, said to be the most effective ingredient in repellents. Apply it to exposed skin and clothing but remember not to spray directly on your face. Remember not to use repellents on wounds and irritated skin.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants to cover your arms and legs. While this can be uncomfortable given the humidity in Singapore, choose light materials and colors to help keep you cool.

In addition to “S-A-W,” the NEA also suggests keeping the following tips in mind:

  • As Aedes mosquitoes are known to bite during the day, consider sleeping under mosquito nets.
  • Install mosquito screens on windows and doors.
  • Consider getting an electric mosquito zapper to kill mosquitoes.

How to Protect Your Home from Dengue:

According to the NEA's advisory on Dengue, the Aedes mosquito breeds in clean, stagnant water found in homes. Even a small amount of stagnant water is enough for mosquitoes to breed.

To keep mosquitoes from breeding, the agency suggests doing the Mozzie Wipeout at least once a week, with “B-L-O-C-K” as your guide.

  • Break up hardened soil in potted plants as water can accumulate on the surface. If you have potted plants inside and outside your home, make sure you check the pots regularly and make breaking up hardened soil as part of your routine.
  • Lift and empty flowerpot plates – especially if you’ve just watered your plants.
  • Overturn pails and wipe their rims. Remember that even the smallest amount of stagnant water can turn into a breeding ground.
  • Change water in vases. Do you put flowers on display around the house? Don’t let the water sit for too long and change them once a week.
  • Keep your roof gutters clean. Dry leaves and debris can accumulate in the gutter, causing blockage of waste and water. This scenario can attract mosquitoes and give them a potential breeding ground. Clean the gutter regularly and don’t forget to use BTI insecticide.

Aside from keeping “B-L-O-C-K” in mind, here are additional must-dos to keep your home safe from Dengue:

  • Remove all possible containers or trash that can collect rainwater such as basins, buckets, empty bottles, and cans.
  • Make sure there’s no water accumulation on your dish drying rack tray.
  • Repair leaky pipes and faucets to avoid having standing water that can turn into a breeding ground.

For advisories about Dengue, visit the NEA website regularly. You can also be in the know about NEA’s dengue colour-coded alert system by downloading the myENV app. If you start experiencing Dengue-like symptoms, it’s advisable to consult with a doctor as soon as possible as early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in managing Dengue effectively.

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