The number one question we often ask the universe is this.
Why do mosquitoes exist?
They sound annoying. Their bites come with an annoying itch. The bumps leave behind an ugly scar. When they attack in a swarm, you'll be wishing for a zombie apocalypse instead.
And sometimes, mosquites carry deadly viruses like the one many Malaysians should be familiar with by now -- dengue
Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by a species of mosquites known as Aedes. This infection causes common symptoms like high fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, rashes, and in some cases, unusual bleeding in the nose or gum area.
Severe warning signs of dengue fever may include severe stomach pain or vomitting, vomitting blood or blood in the stool, drowsiness, and breathing difficulty.
The risk in dengue is that some people exhibit the symptoms between four to 14 days after the bite.
These symptoms affect everyone differently. They can range between mild, unnoticeable, to very severe and potentially fatal.
For years, Malaysia has been experiencing an ongoing risk of dengue transmission across the nation, especially in urban areas.
Most recently, Klang reportedly recorded an alarming 960 dengue fever cases since the start of January
We're barely three weeks into the year!
According to New Straits Times
, this is a vast difference compared to the 203 cases recorded in the corresponding period last year.
Two people have reportedly died so far, a woman and a teenager at the Sri Bahtera Flats in Pulau Indah.
"Early this year alone, Klang recorded the second-highest number of dengue cases in Selangor, with one fatal case. As such, I strongly urge the public to pay serious attention to this matter," Klang MP Charles Santiago said.
He mentioned that people don't pay enough attention to the level of cleanliness in their homes and surroundings.
Sometimes, you may think that your homes are clean. But what about the clogged drains and water trapped in containers?
Those are often breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes
Despite efforts made by the authorities such as conducting dengue awareness campaigns and fogging, the public also needs to pay extra attention on hygiene around the house.
If you're located in or near dengue-infected areas, always use mosquito repellent when you're outdoors during the day.
Wearing light coloured clothing, long sleeves and long pants outside can also help prevent you from getting more bites.
As for homes and indoor prevention, it goes without saying that you need to install insect screens or mosquito nets on the doors and windows.
Most importantly, if you think you're displaying symptoms of dengue fever, see a doctor immediately. The only way to confirm a diagnosis is with a blood test, so don't jump to conclusions and panic.
Nevertheless, the earlier you get it checked and diagnosed, the faster you can reduce further complications and avoid the spread of the virus.
Stay safe and stay healthy!