Have you noticed the weather alternating between super hot and rainy recently?
Did you know its the perfect "storm" to breed mosquitoes, and hence transmit dengue?
In a recent Straits Times article, featuring Dr Lee Joon Loong, close to 5,500 dengue cases have been reported here so far this year, exceeding the total number of cases recorded in the whole of last year.
We are going to discuss the following:
Prevalence of Dengue in 2022
What can we do to reduce our risk of dengue infection?
Who is more at risk of getting severe dengue? What steps can be taken to protect at-risk-people in the dengue cluster zones?
Why is Dengue so prevalent in 2022?
NEA said the surge in cases this year is due to three factors.
First, the recent warm, rainy and humid weather may have led to a high number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in the community.
Second, the previously uncommon dengue virus serotype 3 is now circulating here, along with dengue virus serotype 2, which contributed to the large outbreak here in 2019 and 2020.
In 2019, 15,998 cases were reported. That number more than doubled in 2020.
Third, a proportion of the workforce is still working from home, leading to greater exposure to the mosquitoes, which feed in the day.
For those living within the dengue clusters location, what are some advice to reduce the risk of getting infected?
1. Clearing ALL areas of stagnant water, i.e check all possible areas of stagnant water. Even a 10 cent coin size of water can breed mosquitoes. Be very vigilant on days that are rainy then hot, because that would really accelerate the growth cycle of the Aedes mosquito.
2. Apply mosquito repellent (if not allergic) regularly, probably every 2-3 hours.
3. Well ventilated areas with good wind flow, alternatively, turn on the air conditioner to lower temperatures.
4. At dawn and dusk, when the Aedes mosquitoes are most active, apply more mosquito repellent and try to avoid getting bitten
Who are more at risk of being severely ill from dengue? What steps can be taken to protect at-risk-people in the dengue cluster zones?
Those with existing health problems like diabetes, blood pressure issues, may suffer more from dengue.
However, those that suffer the most are those who have previously had dengue in the past. As we know, there are 4 strains of dengue in Singapore, and usually the first infection will be the “mildest” and subsequent infections will be more severe.
To protect this group of people, prevention is better than cure. Prevention against being bitten by the Aedes mosquito would be the most important.
If infected with dengue, what are the best steps patients should follow to take care of themselves optimally, and reduce risks of severe dengue?
Firstly, see your trusted GP.
Secondly, try to hydrate more with water and take more rest.
Thirdly, pay attention to the “red flag symptoms” of dengue which are:
- Bleeding from the nose, gums
- Blood in the urine or faeces
- Severe pain in the joints or abdomen
- If any of the above, see a doctor promptly.
For most people, one should recover in about 10 days. But the critical period around day 5 to 7, one should really pay attention to any “red flag symptoms” and see a doctor promptly if any of such symptoms.
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Stay optimistic because most people recover well!