Muscat: With Oman’s Ministry of Health recently announcing the discovery of a case of dengue fever in Oman, the government has launched an investigation into finding out the extent of the presence of the mosquito that causes it.
In the meantime, here is how you can protect yourself, your loved ones and your home from the effects of aedes aegypti, the mosquito that causes dengue, yellow fever, the Zika virus, and other viral diseases.
The World Health Organisation has advised the practice of self-initiative for source reduction in homes and communities.
“Clothing that minimises skin exposure during daylight hours when mosquitoes are most active affords some protection from the bites of dengue vectors and is encouraged particularly during outbreaks,” said an advisory from the WHO. “Repellents may be applied to exposed skin or to clothing. The use of repellents must be in strict accordance with label instructions.”
Mosquito nets are often used in countries where the insects are found to thrive, and could be of great use for homes in the Sultanate as well.
“Insecticide-treated mosquito nets afford good protection for those who sleep during the day (e.g. infants, the bedridden and night-shift workers),” added the WHO advisory. “Where indoor biting occurs, household insecticide aerosol products, mosquito coils or other insecticide vaporisers may also reduce biting activity. Household fixtures such as window and door screens and air-conditioning can also reduce biting.”
However, residents and citizens in Oman must be careful to not overuse or misuse aerosol-based insecticides, due to the harm they may cause others.
“All pesticides are toxic to some degree. Safety precautions for their use – including care in the handling of pesticides, safe work practices for those who apply them, and appropriate field application – should be followed,” said the WHO.
Meanwhile, the United States’ Center for Disease Control has also advised people to carry an insecticide when they travel to places where mosquitoes are prevalent.
Residents are also advised to consult their local doctors for further advice, particularly before installing mosquito coils and using repellents that could cause severe allergies in some people. Medication may also be prescribed.
“See a doctor or other healthcare provider 4-6 weeks before your trip to get any prescriptions, shots, and information you may need to stay healthy while you travel,” added the Center for Disease Control’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, which is part of the Center for Global Health. “Even if your trip is sooner, see a doctor to be safe.
The CDC also issued instructions for safe usage of insect repellents. These include always following the directions on the label and washing clothes treated with insect repellent before putting them on again.
“Never use insect repellents over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin," the CDC said, adding, “Do not spray insect repellents directly on your face—spray it onto your hands first and then pat the insect repellent onto your face. Do not spray or put insect repellents on your eyes or mouth, and put only a little around your ears. Use separate sunscreen and insect repellent products. Put the sunscreen on first, then spray on the insect repellent.
“After returning indoors, wash the insect repellent off your skin with soap and water or take a bath. This is especially important when you use insect repellents daily.”