Mosquitos are irritating, but in the Philippines they are more than just an annoyance. Certain types of mosquitos are not only to blame for those itchy bites, but they are also responsible for some serious diseases.
The best way to avoid these health problems is to prevent mosquito bites from occurring in the first place. Effective mosquito control methods do exist to get rid of mosquitos from your environment. Read on to learn about the dangers associated with mosquito bites in the Philippines, and find out how to prevent mosquito bites occurring in your home.
What are the dangers of mosquito bites?
Mosquito bites, aside from being itchy, sore and irritating, are usually no big deal, health-wise. However, dangerous infections and diseases may be carried by certain types of mosquitos, such as:
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease usually acquired through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. Symptoms like headache, fever, chills and vomiting become apparent usually 10 to 15 days after the infective mosquito bite has occurred, and the complications can be life threatening. The good news is that malaria is on the decline in the Philippines – between 2005 and 2013 there was an 83% reduction in cases, and many previously endemic provinces are now being declared Malaria-free, largely thanks to mosquito control measures. However, during the rainy season in rural mountainous or coastal areas, the disease remains a risk, particularly when it comes to children under five, the elderly and pregnant women.
- Dengue fever and chikungunya virus
Dengue fever and chikungunya are viral infections carried by some female mosquitos. The two share some clinical signs, with both causing flu-like symptoms including headaches, muscle pain and nausea. However, dengue is characterized by persistent red spots on the face and body, while chikungunya causes incapacitating joint pain. Due to mosquito control measures adopted by the government, dengue fever is on the decline – there were 44.5% fewer cases reported in 2014 than in 2013. Unfortunately, there has been an increase of chikungunya cases in recent years which suggests further precautions are needed to prevent mosquito bites and get rid of mosquitos.
Zika virus is a flavivirus transmitted by Aedes mosquito bites. Its more minor symptoms include headache, conjunctivitis, skin rash and a mild fever, but it can trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome and brain abnormalities like microcephaly if a pregnant woman is infected. The virus is currently endemic in the Philippines, with most cases reported in Iloilo City. If symptoms persist in yourself or a family member, seek medical advice immediately. Those with suspected Zika virus should undergo diagnostic testing, drink lots of fluids, and get plenty of rest.
How to prevent mosquito bites
Although cases of most mosquito-borne infections and diseases are on the decline in the Philippines, thanks to government mosquito control measures, learning how to keep mosquitos away from your family is still extremely important.
What’s the best way to ensure infection is avoided? Prevent mosquito bites from occurring in the first place by utilising personal mosquito control measures. Follow these straightforward steps to learn how to keep mosquitos away, and help free your family from those pesky, potentially dangerous mosquito bites.
- Windows and doors should be kept closed. Alternatively, insect screens should be used, particularly during the rainy season at dawn, dusk and during the night. Mosquitos are less of a threat during the heat of the day.
- Use mosquito nets around beds to get rid of mosquitos. This can help prevent mosquito bites while you are sleeping.
- Use mosquito repellents. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants or permethrin-treated clothing, especially when you are outdoors in the morning or evening.
- Cover anything that holds water – like drums, pot plants, pails or waste containers. Anything that can acquire pools of water, like planters, toys, jars, cans, vases, bottles buckets or containers, should be scrubbed weekly, covered or thrown out to prevent mosquitos from breeding and thus prevent mosquito bites.
- Keep gutters clean. Pierce old tires if they are being used as roof supports to avoid water pooling.
- Regularly clean and remove water from dish racks. Soap trays and any other household items that pools can form should be checked.
- Fill gaps or holes in walls. Make sure they are sealed or covered to avoid unwelcome visitors.
Now you know how to keep mosquitos away with these simple mosquito control measures! Start today to get rid of mosquitos and keep your family safe from mosquito bites and mosquito-borne infections.