Dengue is no joke, especially now that it’s the rainy season. Last year, there were more than 200,000 suspected cases of dengue including nearly 600 deaths in the country, according to the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). And halfway into 2016, news reports are already showing an alarming rise in dengue cases all over the country.
It’s a serious health concern and to help address it, the DOH is advocating the “4 O’Clock Habit.” It’s an annual campaign that encourages communities to “search and destroy possible mosquito-breeding places” at 4 p.m. everyday. So, late in the afternoon, walk around your home and look for places where there could be stagnant water pools.
“Community mobilization led by the barangay officials is an effective means to encourage the people to act against dengue through the strengthened strategy of ‘4’o clock habit’,” said then Secretary of Health Enrique T. Ona when the campaign was relaunched in 2013.
Mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in stagnant waters. Therefore, possible mosquito breeding grounds around the home include: discarded tires, flower pots and trays, empty containers and gutters. As the 4 o’clock habit suggests, you never really know where stagnant water has pooled around your home until you check.
Why 4 o’clock though? Dengue-carrying mosquitoes are most active at dusk, just before evening. Cleaning before then reduces the risk of the bugs laying eggs. Keep in mind, your chances of getting bitten at dusk is higher so don’t stay out too late.
Another way to rid your home of disease-carrying bugs is to have your home and nearby sewers fogged to kill and drive away mosquitoes. It may take a day to completely spray down a home, but the effort is worth it.
For personal prevention, use insect repellents. Research shows that those containing DEET, picaridin and lemon eucalyptus oil work best. Unfortunately, mosquito skin patches, which promise to repel mosquitoes, aren’t at all effective.
So, don’t patch up. Slather bug repellent lotion on your child in the morning before he goes to school. Parents of children age 10 and below should be the ones applying the repellent to their kids, leaving the hands and areas around the eyes and mouth.
Looking for products with the ingredients mentioned above, click here for our suggestions.