The news about the rising number of dengue cases in the country is definitely alarming. Personally, I am extra cautious in going outdoors and, sad to say, even preventing my children from staying outside the house, too, nowadays that the dengue outbreak is in its height. Unfortunately, medications to neither specifically treat a dengue infection is yet to be discovered nor a vaccine available to prevent a person from being infected. Thus, the only way to avoid mosquito bites is prevention.
The Department of Health promotes its awareness campaign and urges the public to remember its 4S strategy to counter dengue, and these are:
1. Search and Destroy
2. Seek early consultation
3. Self-protective measures
4. Say “no” to indiscriminate fogging
I will not delve now on all these 4S’s as I think the Department of Health, together with media partners, is already doing a great job in making the public aware of these strategies. There are also a number of resources in the internet to help us know more about the dengue disease and how to “search and destroy” or prevent mosquitoes from lurking in our households. There are some very interesting “self-protective measures” (one of the 4S), on the other hand, that I discovered which I would like to share to you.
Taken from one of my favorite natural health books, “Prescription for Nutritional Healing”, here are some natural ways to protect ourselves from being bitten by mosquitoes, in general (not specific to dengue):
- Avoid all refined sugar, which causes the skin to give off a sweet smell that attracts mosquitoes.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks. Alcohol causes the skin to flush and the blood vessels to dilate, which attracts mosquitoes and flies.
- Avoid using perfume, scented lotion, hair spray, and other cosmetics. These attract insects.
- Eat foods that are rich in vitamin B1 (thiamine) like fish, brown rice, brewer’s yeast, blackstrap molasses, and wheat germ, before spending time outside. Carbon dioxide, estrogens, moisture, sweat, and warmth attract mosquitoes. However, they appear to be repelled by the B vitamins, which are excreted through the skin, and especially by thiamine.
- To avoid many insect bites, try taking a chlorine bleach bath before going out. Add 1 cup of bleach per tub of water. Insects dislike the smell. Swimming in a pool treated with chlorine also works.
- Avoid wearing black or dark-hued clothing. Wear light colored clothing like white, yellow and green. Also, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs (although mosquitoes can still bite through cotton clothing).
- Apply citrus juice to exposed areas to repel mosquitoes.
Excellent natural mosquito repellants I know are citronella, calendula, and lemongrass. I personally have a handy bottle of Ilog Maria Citronella Oil which I apply on my and my children’s arms and legs when we’re not wearing jeans, especially when we need to go outdoors or travel to Metro Manila. I have yet to try other natural mosquito repellants from other suppliers, but the one I got is all natural citronella oil with propolis. It’s potent, with antifungal and antibacterial action (because of the propolis), and stays on the skin for long hours (unless you wash it off, of course). For insect bites and skin itchiness or irritation, however, I also have the Ilog Maria Propolis ointment, which I find very effective. These products are not mass produced or commercially available, however, and can only be bought in their honey bee farm in Silang, Cavite or through their website, so most of the ingredients to their products come straight and fresh from their farm, thus, mostly retaining the ingredients’ potency.
As the famous saying goes “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. Let us all take part in preventing these mosquitoes from spreading around and victimizing people. Really, maintaining a clean and pollution-free environment is the way to do it, which boils down to people’s discipline and conscious effort in taking care of Mother Earth.