Northeast monsoons are here and the fear of rise in Dengue and Chikungunya cases, is still very real. In the urban environment, it seems inevitable that high population and frequent movement of infected people increase the risk of infections. This is true in cases of large apartment complexes too. People residing in such complexes can take some easy steps to reduce the menace of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is responsible for spreading Dengue and Chikungunya.
Water collected in discarded items such as coconut shells serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. File Pic
If there is water shortage in the apartment complex, this can lead to water being stored for long durations, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Chlorinating stored water will kill mosquito larvae. The lid on water containers should be tight to prevent mosquitoes from entering. Regular collection and disposal of garbage is necessary, as mosquitoes can breed in the rain water collected amidst garbage. Septic tanks and soak-away pits should be covered and sealed. Ensure that water is not collected around air conditioners or coolers.
Small larva-eating fish like guppies can be put in water tanks as well; these fish are found in streams or ponds, and are also available in pet shops.
Children are effective agents to carry out inspections in the apartment complex to identify breeding areas of mosquitoes. Children move around a lot and could take this as an activity during their spare time – so it would be easy for them to identify mosquito larvae and alert adults.
You can also:
- Hold community council meetings to decide if dengue is a major problem in the complex. House-to-house surveys can be done to verify this.
- Invite officials from the corporation’s health department to participate in the action decided by the community.
- Have volunteers spread information regarding risk factors and methods of prevention. Train volunteers with the aid of films, exhibits and lectures by health workers.
- Publicize these activities to get support from all residents.
Preventing mosquito bites:
- Full body clothing – full sleeved shirts and trousers
- Mosquito coils and electric vapour mats: Slow-burning coils or mats are effective in rainy season. Use them just after sunrise and in the hours before sunset, when dengue mosquitoes usually bite.
- Mosquito nets: For sleeping areas and additionally, netting on windows and cloth and bamboo curtains can be hung at doorways.
- Protecting those sick with dengue: Try to prevent mosquitoes biting those infected with the disease, as this can lead to an uninfected mosquito being infected and then spreading the disease to other people.