Dengue is a disease caused by a virus, spread through a mosquito bite. While initially a disease of the sub-tropic areas of Central America, Oceania, and South America, it has become widespread in Pakistan as well. Nationally many cases of dengue were reported this year, from the following areas: Balochistan, Punjab, Karachi, Islamabad and even KPK.
Till date, it has claimed the lives of 257 people in Lahore and 60 deaths in the rest of the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) is working through its country office in Pakistan, to help eradicate this disease, and provide technical support.
While the first case in Pakistan was reported in 1994, since 2010 it has morphed into an endemic. Every year a load of dengue increases, but the regional health care facilities fail to effectively combat it as they also have to fight with cholera, typhoid and serious malnutrition that occurs due to floods that have been ongoing since 2010.
Many factors contribute to the spread of dengue. The high temperatures in the summer are favourable for mosquitoes, which is an important vector in the spread of this disease. Moreover, there is unregulated urbanization and environmental sanitation, which contributes to the increase in waste containers; the latter provide breeding sites for the mosquitoes. Additional factors include overpopulation, lack of clean water, poor socio-economic conditions and overburdened healthcare facilities.
So how can you protect yourself this monsoon season from this disease, read on to find out:
Take protective measures:
Avoid wearing short-sleeved clothes when you are outside, at dawn or dusk. If you have to be outdoors, choose breathable, long-sleeved garments. Wear neutral colours when possible, and pre-soak the garments and outer gear in permethrin. On exposed skin, use an insect repellent, with at least 20 percent Picaridin or 20-30 percent DEET. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how often to reapply. You should use a sunscreen under the repellent (at least 20 minutes prior).
Clean your environment:
Another way to ensure that mosquitoes don’t breed around your houses and living areas is to improve the environmental sanitation. Get rid of open containers, unused tires and boxes and spray insect killer in areas that seem suspicious to you. Also, use screens and windows to ensure that they don’t enter the house. Use larvicides in surrounding stagnant water and improve hygiene practices.
Spreading disease awareness is also a means of protection. Preventive measures should be taken by the government to fight the surge in new cases. According to provincial health minister of Punjab, Dr. Yasmeen Rashid, lady health workers have been recruited to spread disease awareness amongst the residents. However, little else is being done by the government to curb the rise of cases. Thus it falls upon the residents to take protective measures themselves.
Despite the protective measures, if you contract dengue fever, then timely diagnosis and treatment are necessary. Book an appointment with a top general physician in Lahore, Multan and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.