The threat of dengue fever is not new to Singapore. You probably already know everything you need to know about the disease and the Aedes mosquito that causes it. But with the El Nino effect in full force this year, Singapore is bracing itself for over 30,000 cases as forecasted by the National Environmental Agency (NEA), making it absolutely vital to be vigilant.
You know it’s Dengue fever season in Singapore when neighbourhoods start displaying the Dengue Community Alert banners that indicate the seriousness of dengue occurrence in the neighbourhood. The big red circle denotes the incidence of 10 or more cases, yellow equals less than 10 cases and while neighbourhoods marked green don’t have any reported cases, it’s best to be cautious. Caused in part because of rising temperatures, which support faster breeding and maturation cycles of the Aedes mosquito, a change in the circulating virus and larger mosquito populations, it’s important to take all possible precautions. Especially if you live in or around Serangoon Gardens, Siglap, Marsailing Road, Woodlands, Jurong West, Adam Road, Joo Chiat, Geylang Bahru, Yishun, Tampines or Bedok Reservoir to name a few.
Here are some ways you can prevent dengue fever:
- Ensure there is no stagnant water in or around your home. Clear gutters, empty flowerpot plates, change the water in vases, keep buckets over turned.
- Apply insect repellent, even when you’re indoors.
- Spray insecticide in dark corners, under the beds, behind sofas – anywhere you’re likely to find mosquitoes.
- Cap bamboo pole holders, if any.
- Make sure window and door screens are free of holes.
If in spite of your best efforts you notice the following flu-like symptoms of dengue fever, it’s best to see your doctor:
- Sudden high fever
- Severe headaches
- Pain behind the eyes
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- A rash on the skin that appears two to five days after the fever