The most common mosquito-carried viruses are dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika, which can lead to serious illnesses.
In 2019, Singapore has hit its highest record of dengue cases since January 2016, with weekly cases hitting 666 in the week ending July 13, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA) data. The suspect for thriving of mosquitoes this year is due to climate change. So the warmer weather are generally when mosquito population are expected to boom.
In hot and humid Singapore, mosquitoes are here to stay. We can learn ways to keep us safe by taking preventive measures.
Here are some tips from researchers and experts to keep you and your loved ones safe!
Ways to protect yourself from Dengue
Using insect repellent
Have the habit of applying insect repellent especially before going outdoors. It is an effective way to protect body parts that are not covered. Repellents that contain DEET or picaridin or IR3535 as ingredients are effective in keeping mosquitoes away, said a NEA spokesperson. The products that contain 10 percent or less in DEET concentration is safe for young children and infants from 2 months old onwards, said a NEA spokesperson. However, do note that DEET also cause allergic reactions in some people.
Dress to protect
Mosquitoes and insects are usually attracted to dark, bright, and flowery prints. Try to avoid tight-fitting clothing because mosquitoes can bite through it. Some says wear long-sleeved clothes to prevent mosquito bites. But some people might find it too uncomfortable due to the hot and humid weather in Singapore.
Install mosquito net/mesh screens on windows and door grills
Install mosquito net/mesh screens to keep mosquitoes out of home. Make sure there is no gap between the frames and wall. If there is a tear on the mosquito net/mesh, replace it.
Removing excess trash and water around the home
Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and they lay hundreds of eggs at a time. Change or empty the water regularly.
Avoid strong perfumes and smelly feet
Floral fragrances, dirty socks and smelly feet will draw mosquitoes. Those who have smelly feet must be aware because it will attract Anopheles gambiae (a species of mosquitoes) that spread malaria.
Some products are believed to be keeping mosquitoes at bay, but are they effective?
Mosquitoes are attracted to odour from humans, a mixture of chemicals we release from our skin. These patches emit scents to prevent mosquitoes from smelling humans. A patch is not as effective as repellents as it only covers limited areas where it is stuck on
In the good old days, people use mosquito coils to keep mosquitoes away. Some people might still be using it now but expert says that burning mosquito coils release smoke and it’s a potential fire hazard. However, using electric odourless liquid vaporizers has the same effects minus the smell and ashes.
Choose the right aerosol insecticides (water-like formulation) for flying insects. Do not choose oil-like formulation (for crawling insects) because it will make your room oily and expose to unnecessary hazard.
Electric Insect Killers
Electric insect killer is a device that kills flying insects. It works by attracting insects using UV light and then electrocuting them. This does not give you 100% protection as mosquitoes are strongly attracted to human odour and body heat. You may also end up killing other flying insects attracted by the UV lure.