Medical Perspectives | Others

January 28, 2020



With the recent declaration of a National Dengue Alert by Health Secretary Francisco T Duque III, we focus on how to keep your family safe from the viral disease. As of June 29, a total of 106,630 cases of dengue have been recorded nationwide, an 85% increase versus same period in 2018.[1]

 

The DOH’s 4S strategy, said to be the most effective way to prevent dengue, prescribes the following actions:

  • Search and destroy mosquito breeding places
  • Self-protective measures like wearing long sleeves and use of insect repellant
  • Seek early consultation on the first signs and symptoms of the disease, and 
  • Say yes to fogging if there is an impending outbreak.

 

Using insect repellants is one of the recommended protective measure, so let’s take a good look at the kind of insect repellants that can help keep you and your family dengue-free. The big question with insect repellants is what to choose: commercial or natural/organic?

 

While there are many brands available in the market, the increased awareness on toxic ingredients raises concerns on the long-term health effects of commercial products. One of the active ingredients is DEET (chemical name, N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), which is widely-used in many repellant products against mosquitoes and ticks.[2]

 

Applied directly on the skin, DEET makes it difficult for bugs to detect human smell and land on skin or clothing.[3] Having been proven to effectively repel disease-carrying insects, DEET-based insect repellants “offer the best protection against mosquito bites”, according to the Centers for Disease Control.[4]

 

As an alternative to using commercial insect repellants, there are several natural solutions including[5]

  • Essential oils anti-mosquito spray
  • Citronella, whose smell is avoided by mosquitoes
  • Tea tree oil or melaleuca, is toxic for insects
  • Vanilla extract
  • Marigold plant, with repellant and insecticidal properties[6]
  • Lemon eucalyptus oil, is used as repellent since the 1940s
  • Oil and fragrance from crushed lavender flowers
  • Cinnamon oil which not only repels mosquitoes but also kills its eggs
  • Thyme oil has a high protection rate, based on clinical studies
  • Soybean oil
  • Geraniol, a type of alcohol from plant oils of citronella, lemongrass and rose

 

Keep yourself and your loved ones protected from dengue-carrying mosquitoes. You have the option to use anti-mosquito lotions and your choices are varied as well, be it the commercially available or organic insect repellants.

 

[1] Department of Health. [2019, July]. Duque declares National Dengue Alert in selected regions. Retrieved from https://www.doh.gov.ph/press-release/Duque-declares-national-dengue-alert-in-selected-regions

 

[2] United States Environmental Protection Agency. [n.d.]. DEET. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/deet

 

[3] Interlandi, J. [2019, April]. How Safe is Deet? Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/insect-repellent/how-safe-is-deet-insect-repellent-safety/

 

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [n.d.]. Fight the Bite for Protection from Malaria Guidelines for DEET Insect Repellent Use. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/toolkit/DEET.pdf

 

[5] Clark, J. [n.d.]. Repel Insects Naturally: 20 Natural Insect Repellent Recipes and Tips. Retrieved from https://www.tipsbulletin.com/natural-insect-repellent/

 

[6] StuartXchange. [2017, November]. Philippine Medicinal Plants: Ahito/Tagetes eracta l/Marigold. Retrieved from http://www.stuartxchange.org/Ahito.html

 

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