[ecis2016.org] With mosquito-borne diseases like dengue on the rise, it becomes important to keep one’s home and surroundings clean. Here’s a quick guide on how you can keep mosquitoes at bay
While the world is still trying to deal with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, the onset of the monsoon season also bring mosquito-borne diseases like dengue. Dengue-related cases have gone up in the last few weeks, especially in some south Asian countries. With the monsoon season beginning in India, it is also time to prepare your home against dengue. A clean home radiates positive energy and is a healthier place to live. With mosquito-borne diseases on the rise, it is important to ensure that there is no breeding ground for mosquitoes. Besides sweeping the house daily, one should also adopt a weekly routine, of thoroughly cleaning all the corners in the house, getting rid of cobwebs, cleaning carpets and dust-laden ceiling fans and scrubbing bathroom and kitchen tiles.
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Tips to keep your house clean to prevent dengue
“Recently, there have been increasing incidents of mosquito-borne disease like malaria, dengue and chikungunya. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. So, one should pay special attention to air-conditioner ducts, choked drains, overhead water tanks, trays beneath potted plants and so on,” advises Dr Nikhil Kulkarni, an infection disease specialist and a general physician from Mumbai.
“One should also keep areas outside the house clean. Garbage should never be kept open. Inside the house, mosquitoes tend to hide underneath the bed and behind curtains. Besides using mosquito repellants, home owners should regularly clean the home. To prevent mosquitoes from entering the house, you can also put up wire meshes on doors and windows, or sleep with mosquito nets,” he adds.
Area-wise cleaning, to prevent dengue
In buildings that have a garden, residents should ensure that there no cans, bottles, broken toys, coconut shells or old tyres, where water can collect.
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Similarly, swimming pools should be cleaned periodically and fogging should be done regularly.
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If you have a bathroom outside the house, ensure that it is kept clean. Buckets with stored water can turn into breeding grounds for mosquitos, especially if it is not emptied within a day. The ventilation/window in the bathroom, could serve as be entry points for mosquitoes. To prevent mosquitoes from making your bathroom/toilets a breeding ground, keep it dry and clean.
Avoid leaving dishes unwashed, overnight. Napkins used to clean the kitchen, should be washed regularly in boiling water.
- Wipe doorknobs, switches, refrigerator handles, remote controls and shower curtains regularly.
- Dust all surfaces regularly and vacuum the upholstery fortnightly, as this helps to reduce allergies and infections.
- Do not use sponge to scrub a toilet as sponges are an ideal breeding place for bacteria. Instead, opt for paper towels that can be thrown away.
How to deep-clean your house
An increasing number of home owners, are now hiring specialised cleaning services for their homes. “The cleaning industry has evolved a lot, vis-à-vis techniques, equipment and solutions. An unhygienic environment may cause several diseases.
“To overcome the mosquito menace, one can use ‘steam sanitation’, for homes in the areas that are prone to mosquito breeding. Steam sanitation not only kills the mosquitoes, but also destroys the eggs. We recommend house owners to get the house steam cleaned, after every 50 to 60 days.
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“One can also opt for deep cleaning services, such as sanitation by using hospital disinfectant, to ensure that the home is germ-free,” says Aneet Singh, co-founder of Dustbusterz, Delhi.
Natural and tested ways to keep mosquitoes away
- Use lemons and detergent mix to clean the house, as the scent of lemon serves as a mosquito repellent. Once a week, boil some leaves of lemongrass and ginger in two litres of water on a low heat for over an hour. This helps in repelling the mosquitoes and removes bad odour from the house.
- Light a few piece of camphor in a diffuser and shut the doors and windows for some time. This will keep the mosquitoes away, as camphor is an effective mosquito repellent.
- Neem oil can be burnt in candles, in lamps and can also be used as a mosquito repellent body lotion, by mixing it with coconut oil.
- Tulsi plant has medicinal properties, which does not allow mosquitoes to enter your home.
Expert’s take on how to keep mosquitoes away
Essential oils can also be used to keep mosquitoes at bay, says Dr Blossom Kochhar, aromatherapy expert and chairperson of the Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies.
“Add a few drops of citronella essential oil to a bucket of water, when mopping the floor. You can also make a mosquito repellent at home, by adding this oil to water and keeping it in a plastic spray bottle. Store this bottle in a dark place, as sunlight speeds up the degradation of the essential oils. When the flu is around, add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a diffuser,” says Kochhar.
Tea tree and lavender essential oils, have inherent anti-bacterial properties and can be used to clean kitchen countertops or other surfaces. To tackle mould or mildew, add 50 drops of tea tree essential oil into a bucket of water to clean the area, adds Kochhar.
What are the symptoms of dengue?
Fever, nausea, rashes, aches and pains especially in or behind the eyes and muscle, joint, or bone pain, are the usual symptoms of dengue.
How is dengue transmitted?
Dengue is spread by certain species of the female Aedes mosquitoes, primarily A. aegypti. It results in a viral disease and may take an infected person two to seven days to recover. Once infected, the person gets a long-term immunity to the specific type of virus. However, he/she may still be infected by any of the other four types. Altogether, there are five types of virus that spread dengue through mosquitoes.
(With inputs from Sneha Sharon Mammen)
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