Five Tips for a Dengue Free Holiday

As soon as the air takes on a chilly nip, the radio plays Christmas songs and the streets explode with colorful lights, you know that the holiday season is just around the corner. By this time, we say goodbye to typhoons (although a couple might try to sneak through) and expect good, cool weather until January of next year. What doesn’t leave, however, is dengue which has now become a year-round issue. Falling ill with the infection amid the merriment of the season is not only a depressing thought but a real concern, since most of us will be exposed outdoors (doing our shopping, attending parties, hearing the early morning Mass) more than the usual. Fortunately, we can arm ourselves with a handful of precautions against dengue-lamok. Here’s a list of them:

Click and know dengue status of the place you’re visiting. The Department of Science and Technology has put up a website called Dengue Vector Surveillance that helps you keep track of dengue incidence in a particular city. Visit http://oltrap.pchrd.dost.gov.ph and you will see a search panel where you can input the time frame, the region and the city you wish to visit. The site also lists the schools where cases of dengue have been reported. A red marker on the place signals an alert level, which means that you have to take extra precautions if you still intend to push through with your trip.

Website: Before heading to any destination, do check its dengue status by visiting the Dengue Vector Surveillance website of the Department of Science and Technology at http://oltrap.pchrd.dost.gov.ph.
Website: Before heading to any destination, do check its dengue status by visiting the Dengue Vector Surveillance website of the Department of Science and Technology at http://oltrap.pchrd.dost.gov.ph.

Keep your car spic-and-span clean. Holiday season means a lot of motoring around and it pays to have your car tuned-up and spic-and-span clean. Not too many people know that dengue-lamok can propagate in a pool of water as small as a coin so be sure your car doesn’t provide any breeding ground. Regularly empty water coolers and have your trash disposed. The cleaner the car, or any place for that matter, the less likely that mosquitoes are able to breed. 

Car clean: Remember that dengue-lamok can breed in a pool of water as small as a coin. As a rule, the cleaner the car, the less likely they can breed.
Car clean: Remember that dengue-lamok can breed in a pool of water as small as a coin. As a rule, the cleaner the car, the less likely they can breed.

Do a last-quarter check of your house. Have you been putting off making your house dengue-proof? Now is the best time to do a house check-up. Replace your window and door screen, your first line of defense not only against mosquitoes but other insects, if it already shows visible tear. Apply insect spray on damp, dark places if you suspect them be as breeding grounds. Of course, always empty vases and containers of water that are ideal places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. If your village already has a high incidence rate of dengue, perhaps it’s time to explore the idea of fumigating your house.

Wear the right clothes. When going out, be sure to dress in long-sleeved clothes. You may choose something made of cotton, linen or nylon for comfort. Dengue-lamok usually bites below the knee, so be sure to wear long pants and socks as well.

Apply: Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion Gentle Protect helps keep the holiday merry by providing an effective barrier against insect bites up to 8 hours.
Apply: Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion Gentle Protect helps keep the holiday merry by providing an effective barrier against insect bites up to 8 hours.

Know your dengue-lamok and apply protection accordingly. Aedes aegypti has been identified as the main dengue-carrying culprit, biting between 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Another dengue-lamok, Aedes albopictus, has been discovered to have peak biting hours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. In tandem, these mosquito strains now make dengue a round-the-clock concern. An insect repellent offers the quickest, most effective protection so be sure you always have a bottle in handy—in your house and in your car. Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion Gentle Protect offers barrier against dengue-lamok for up to 8 hours and is clinically formulated to be safe for the young ones. Apply it most especially on the skin that is not covered by clothing. With a fresh, clean scent, and a light, non-greasy consistency, Green Cross Insect Repellent Gentle Protect helps you keep the holidays merry.

GREEN CROSS INITIATES DENGUE DEFENSE IN SCHOOL

This year has seen a noticeable mount of dengue cases in the country. According to the Department of Health‟s Dengue Surveillance Report, 95,142 victims have been affected by the mosquito-born disease in the first nine months of 2012 alone. A significant 12.94% increase from last year‟s same period, this turnaround left even school administration to be more vigilant and take extra preventive measures against the dreaded disease.

The widespread transmission of dengue 

The hasty transmission of the resilient virus has led school administrators, particularly the Lourdes School of Mandaluyong (LSM), to ascertain that the mosquito vector‟s highly adaptable quality is partly to blame. “These mosquitoes can easily adapt to changes in the environment, find new places to breed and even effortlessly adjust to human settlements. Previous efforts like defogging would only temporarily drive mosquitoes away, and they would be here again to look for a new prey,” shares Ana Eva Bolinao, School Principal of LSM. Bolinao also reveals that the school has recorded 20 cases of dengue out of its total population of about 1,200 high school and grade school students.

During the Green Cross School Crashers, the students learn the Day and Night Dengue Lamok defense, a stance similar to a karate block which shows how little kids block off deadly dengue lamok from coming near them.

The widespread resurgence of dengue may also be attributed to the latest discovery of experts of another mosquito vector stalking the city. Historically, dengue infection in the country had been attributed to the mosquito species Aedes aegypti, whose attack is far more common during the day. Entomologists have recently reported the presence of Aedes albopictus, a once confined species to forested areas, now in cities where people live. A secondary vector of the dengue virus, Ae. albopictus is as lethal as the Ae. aegypti and was found to be an active biter at late afternoon and even at night.

Preventive measures against dengue 

Dr. Raymond Manuel, Pediatrician and School Physician of LSM shares that cleaning campaigns like defogging has been carried out in school premises usually after classes to destroy possible mosquito breeding grounds. However the school physician discloses that apart from mosquito larva killing and eliminating pools of stagnant water, the most effective dengue preventive measure are awareness campaigns. “Though we have adequate knowledge related to the disease „dengue,‟ others do not have sufficient knowledge about the virus. And while we have a number of preventive practices against the disease like defogging, its effectiveness against dengue will be very minimal if the victims themselves aren‟t well-informed of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes,” stresses Dr. Manuel. School-aged children, especially those below 10 years old, appeared to be more susceptible to dengue virus.

All students will not go home empty handed. Aside from learning about the harmful day and night dengue lamok, they also get to take home educational brochures with fun activities inside for them to answer and share with family members.

These kids have fewer antibodies that are considered necessary to protect themselves against infections and illnesses, dengue included.

The school has already incorporated dengue information dissemination campaign in classroom discussions during the students‟ science subject. This not only creates an opportunity for teachers to lead the class about the dangers of the disease, it all the more builds the students’ knowledge from symptoms to preventive measures.

The Green Cross School Crashers 

Very timely is the Green Cross School Crashers campaign which was recently launched at LSM and at several Metro Manila schools. As Green Cross sees the vital importance of awareness campaigns, it embarks a Day and Night Dengue Defense drive to acquaint young students and parents alike on facts about dengue. Through the Green Cross School Crashers, students get to understand the disease, its symptoms, and defensive measures in a fun and interactive way.

During the Green Cross School Crashers activity, grade school students meet Ms. Green, a Green Cross Insect Repellent Ambassador, and two costumed character mascots, Daytime Dengue Lamok (Ae. aegypti) and Nighttime Dengue Lamok (Ae. albopictus). The lessons are taught through interactive storytelling where kids learn all about dengue prevention and the dangers of dengue.

Children do not only learn about the harmful day and night dengue lamok but also get to take home educational brochures they may share with family members. Aside from useful tips to keep their homes and community from becoming the breeding sites of dengue lamok, the leaflet has fun activities inside and even a survey form kids can answer and get a chance to take home a limited edition school supply kit.

Grade school students meet the two naughty school crashers they need to avoid -Daytime Dengue Lamok (Ae. Aegypti) and Nighttime Dengue Lamok (Ae. Albopictus, and learn the deadly virus they carry with them.

The best line of defense 

Though there are a number of initiatives to prevent breeding sites and protect oneself from dengue, the best line of defense is still personal protection. The use of insect repellents is highly advisable especially to protect those exposed skin one can not cover up with long-sleeved tops or pants. And the only proven protection against day and night dengue lamok is the new Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion. It protects you from harmful mosquitoes for up to 10 hours. It also has an antibacterial formulation proven to kill up to 99.9% of disease-causing germs, a benefit which Green Cross brand has always been known for. Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion is especially formulated to give complete protection from dengue mosquito bites, offering up to 10 hours protection per application.

There are a number of effective, eco-friendly and sustainable strategies to combat dengue. Both the local government and school administration are sharing collaborative efforts in stopping the spread of this dreaded disease. Awareness campaigns are of vital importance and the Green Cross School Crashers is a welcome effort to control the spread of dengue virus. Several schools have joined and discovered this innovative way to defend oneself against dengue. Enlist your school in the Green Cross School Crashers. For more information, visit  www.facebook.com/greencrossphilippinesor call the Green Cross School Crashers hotline at 0917 976 5980.

Source: Department of Health Disease Surveillance Report Morbidity Week 35, Aug. 26 – Sept 1, 2012