At the end of July 2021, Malaysia had already reported a cumulative 16,194 dengue cases since the start of the year1. Dengue can pose a risk at any time of the year, but the risks increase during the late monsoon season: July through August in Peninsula Malaysia, and October through February in the East Coast, Sabah and Sarawak2. Dengue prevention is vital to mitigating this risk, and there are steps we can take both outside and inside our homes to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
Here are several dengue prevention actions that you can take to keep your homes safe and reduce the risk of contracting dengue:
The B.L.O.C.K method3 is the first and most important dengue prevention step and the aim is to remove any stagnant water in and around the house that may serve as potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
a) Break up hardened soil. This will prevent the formation of puddles on the surface of soil that could act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
b) Lift and empty flowerpot plates. Leaving stagnant water to sit for too long will give mosquito larvae a chance to grow.
c) Overturn pails and wipe their rims. Make sure your pails are placed upside down so that they do not collect water.
d) Change the water in vases regularly. Similarly, this will prevent mosquito eggs from hatching or larvae from growing.
e) Keep roof gutters clear of debris. If your home has gutters, you should ensure that water flow is smooth and unimpeded.
Having a fine mesh window screen over doors or windows is another dengue prevention method. They allow fresh air into your home while keeping mosquitoes out. For an extra layer of protection, consider installing mosquito nets around the house. These mosquito nets can easily be hung over your bed to protect you from mosquitoes while you sleep at night.
Research suggests that the use of natural repellents can be an effective and inexpensive dengue prevention method. If you are looking for an alternative to toxic chemical repellents, natural repellents would be a better option for you. The first and most well-known natural repellent commonly used in Malaysia is lemongrass. Research has supported the anti-malarial and anti-protozoal properties of lemongrass, making lemongrass oil an effective ingredient in mosquito repellents4. Other natural repellents you can use for dengue prevention include:
Using a combination of any of these natural repellents as a spray, candle or essential oil will help keep those pests at bay.
Mosquito repellent patches are adhesive patches or stickers that can be stuck on your clothing, tables, bedsides and so on to ward off mosquitoes. These can be incorporated into your dengue prevention routine for protection when you are gardening or exercising outdoors. Most mosquito patches come in fragrant scents, and typically contain one or more natural essential oils. These mosquito repellent patches act as spatial repellents and help create an invisible “mosquito net” around you6.
A moving burst of air from a fan could easily push mosquitoes out of a room. Having several fans in a room can create an environment that is unappealing to mosquitoes. Air conditioners do not repel mosquitoes; but by having your air conditioner switched on, it keeps your doors and windows closed to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home7.
Another all-natural dengue prevention method recommended by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Malaysia is planting mosquito-repellent plants inside and outside of your home. These plants produce natural scents that keep mosquitoes away and help mask the scent of humans that mosquitoes are normally attracted to. Examples of some mosquito-repellent plants for your home include:
Ideally, these plants should be positioned in doorways or seating areas, and can also add some colour to your home or outdoor space8.
By implementing the dengue prevention steps above, you will minimise the risk of contracting dengue, which might require medical treatment and hospitalization. Another way to protect yourself and your loved ones is with MyGuardian PA, AIG’s personal accident plan. Not only does MyGuardian PA provide coverage for medical expenses due to accidents, but with optional add-on benefits, you’ll also get coverage for specified infectious diseases, including dengue. Plans start from as low as RM76 a year.
Learn more about AIG's personal accident insurance here: https://www.aig.my/personal/personal-accident-insurance