The Mosquito Menace : Dengue, Prevention, & Cure.

As if disease and death weren't enough, one of the most troubling aspects of dengue is understanding how to pronounce it. Den-gee? Den-goo? YouTube can help you with pronunciation, and we'll help you with preventing it. A disease endemic to Sri Lanka, dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that can lead to severe illness, or in the case of over 70 Sri Lankans, death in the last year.

As D. H. Lawrence laments, mosquitos aren't just a Sri Lankan thing, but since the 1st of January 2017, some 24315 cases have been reported to the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health. While the problem is country-wide, 41% of the reports were from the Western Province, which seems worryingly disproportionate. 

Transmission

You can most commonly get dengue from the bites of the female mosquito aedes aegypti, which act as vectors between humans carrying the disease. They tend to be daytime feeders, so the most dangerous period is in the morning and before dusk.

Prevention

While a dengue vaccination has been very recently created, it's not in the country as yet, so prevention is still the best bet in Sri Lanka. 

Natural

1. Citronella oil – The direct application, diffusion, or spray of this aromatic natural oil heavily deters mosquitos. Some people dislike the strong smell, but it's not too offensive even to put directly onto your body after a shower. You can even make your own body spray at home like a craftsy crocodile. Mix lavender water, citronella oil, and put into a little spray bottle – done! Fair warning; all these ingredients are kind of pricey in Sri Lanka. You can pick up citronella at Keells Super or the Good Market Shop for around Rs. 400-600.

Electric & Chemical

1. Wall plug-in- These are available at most supermarkets, along with either mat or liquid bottle refills. They're generally effective within short distances, but take a while to activate to protect a full room. Refills are available at any supermarket for about Rs. 200.

2. Gadgets – We found a heap of gadgets online that promise to ward off mosquitos, but they look expensive and difficult to ship here.

3. Baygon, Mortein, and other aerosol sprays – These are super effective, super strong, and very bad if you've got young children, pets, or are in any way ill. You're basically fumigating your immediate area. These aerosols also attack cockroaches and other crawlies, so check the label. Available at all supermarkets and corner shops for about Rs. 400.

4. Coils – If fumes aren't your thing, coils may not work out for you. However, they are one of the cheapest and most commonly used options in Sri Lanka, especially outdoors. Keep in mind that these fumes are specially treated, just chainsmoking furiously won't keep mosquitos away. Available at all supermarkets and corner shops for as low as Rs. 80 for a pack of 10.

5. Bug zappers – These are loud, bright, and generally unsightly. They do, however, succeed in killing off a whole variety of flying insects. That sound of electrocuted bugs isn't nice though. Available at electric stores or on mydeal.lk for Rs. 3500 or so.

Body Application

1. Sticker Patches – This are great (and generally safe) to put on children, or if you're sitting or walking around in mosquito-prone areas. It's also great if you're sensitive to smell and/or don't want to smell like repellent.  Or if you want to look like a human laptop covered in stickers. Available on wow.lk for Rs. 280 for 12

2. Creams and ointments – Imported creams like Odomos are superb for keeping mosquitos away. They're also a lot less smelly and smeary than they used to be, making application easy. Available at Healthguard for as low as Rs. 400

3. Sprays – sprays here are expensive! The non-aerosol ones are the only ones we've noticed in shops here, but that's better for the environment anyway. You can find them at big supermarkets at about Rs. 600 a pop.

4. Bracelets – A less smelly, less sticky option. These bracelets are kind of pricey and only stay effective for about 12 hours, but they do work. Available on mydeal.lk at Rs. 325

Physical

1. Mosquito nets – Mosquito nets are probably more common in Sri Lankan bedrooms than orgasms are (if this bothers anybody, you can write your righteous indignation in iambic pentameter and recite it to us on the next full moon). While these bulky multicoloured contraptions can make you feel like a princess in a four-poster, they're not super effective because a lot dengue vector mozzies attack during the day. Available at Arpico or any homeware store, or online at wow.lk for about Rs. 1000- Rs. 3000.

2. Window & door screens – It's almost always sweltering outside, so tempting a breeze in is necessary. Just make sure all openings of your house have screens on them to keep the buzzing out.

3. Turn the fan on – Easy, effective. If your A/C is high enough that works too.

4. Mosquito/fly swatters – A more tedious, less effective strategy. These can be bought hella cheap on the road, unlike your life. We'd probably only suggest this if you're trying to relive your glory days as an Under-14 badminton hero.

Mosquito Control

*Photo by Jared Belson

One of the best ways to squash the mozzie epidemic is to discourage breeding. As a tropical country, we're prime breeding ground, but measures can be taken to ensure your house isn't a bug paradise. 

1. Get rid of empty tires, pots, broken things around the house that collect water. Rainwater harvesting is environmentally friendly, but stagnant water is the perfect breeding ground.

2. Lemon grass , mint, basil – You can grow these naturally repellant plants around your house and garden. They all grow pretty easily in Sri Lankan climate, and you can use them for cooking (and making mojitos) too.

3. Rear fish – Particular types of ornamental fish like guppy, goldfish, fathead minnows and mosquito fish all eat mosquito larvae!

4. Get your house inspected by the CMC. They will tell you what you can improve on, give you a Green Star if your house passes inspection, and will even fumigate the premises for you during their rounds. They're basically the Captain Planet of Colombo.

Symptoms

Fever, pain behind the eyes, sore joints, vomiting, nausea can all start to show between 4-7 days of being bitten. In some rare cases, dengue can even be asymptomatic.If the illness perseveres, it could lead to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF). According to the IAMAT, symptoms of DHF include severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions, bruising, and uncontrolled bleeding. In rare cases, it could cause death, so seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Treatment/Cure

Of course, prevention is better than cure. If it's too late for that, the best bet is to go straight to hospital if there's suspicion of the symptoms mentioned above. Apart from the big private hospitals, the IDH is one of the best treatment sites in Sri Lanka, just ignore their hilarious stock text on the photo. Also make sure to avoid aspirin and other blood thinners as they could exacerbate the haemorrhaging.  The key is to ensure you replace lost fluids and rest. Papaya leaves have long been used to aid treatment in Sri Lanka, but medical research doesn't confirm this as yet.

In the meanwhile, keep spraying and just follow your doctor's advice!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

Highlights.

Latest.

KAMU.

7 Restaurants to dine in July 2022

By Shamrina Carim July hits a beautiful urge to try out different foods, events and

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

Hot Chook – all about that Chicken

By Hiruni Herath Service and Ambience The head chef at Hot Chook was very helpful

Highlights Kamu

A glistening night out at Colombo’s finest local bar!

By Shamrina Carim A Sri Lankan experiencing the magical inspiration of Sri Lanka in the

Kamu

Ceylon Curry Club – Sri Lankan Cuisine With a Twist

By Janani Vithanage Ceylon Curry Club, located in the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, is a

Kamu

The Delightful Indian Cuisine at Navaratna by Taj Samudra

Navaratna is an Indian Restaurant located in Taj Samudra Colombo. Taj Samudra is a 5-star

Kamu

10 Places to Get Sushi in Colombo

By Janani Vithanage A Japanese dish most often presented as vinegared sticky rice, seafood or

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

Trending.

Elvis the Sensationalist – the Movie Review

By Hiruni Herath The Movie If you’ve watched the movie trailer for Baz Luharmann’s Elvis,

Trending

Savor The Salt Of The Sea At Hilton Colombo

Fresh from the seafood markets to your table Colombo, Sri Lanka – 20th June 2022 – Partake

Trending

10 Types of Sri Lankans in Petrol Queues

By Janani Vithanage These days, spending time in the petrol queue is almost every Sri

Highlights Trending

Celebrating life with Perera & Sons

by Shamrina Carim Perera & Sons holds a privileged history of catering to the most

Highlights Trending

Before You Watch… Jurassic World Dominion

By Shamrina Carim The movie On a critic of honest opinions, Jurassic World Dominion is

Trending

Treats fit for a King at Ramada Colombo this Father’s Day!

Enjoy Father's Day special Grill, Lunch, Dinner, Deliveries, and Stays… This June 19th, we all

Trending

Yamu Guide.

7 Restaurants to dine in July 2022

By Shamrina Carim July hits a beautiful urge to try out different foods, events and

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

10 Places to Get Sushi in Colombo

By Janani Vithanage A Japanese dish most often presented as vinegared sticky rice, seafood or

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

The ideal skin care routine with Bio Oil

By Shanali Fernando Feeling overwhelmed, confused, and/or frustrated by the multitude of competing messages about

Highlights Yamu Guide

5 common causes of Dry Skin

The general cause of itchy, dry skin might seem like a no-brainer: It's a lack

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 Places to Watch the SL Vs. AUS ODI Matches

By Janani Vithanage Sri Lankan cricket may ot have been on its best footing over

Highlights Yamu Guide

5 Cooking Tips from Knorr

By Janani Vithanage Being a mother in today’s world is no easy task. From waking

Highlights Yamu Guide