6 dengue myths and facts every parent should know

July 30, 2019
  • Myth: Dengue affects the elderly more often than younger people aged 45 and below
    1 / 6 Myth: Dengue affects the elderly more often than younger people aged 45 and below

    It’s dengue season again, and the Ministry of Health says there were over 8,000 dengue cases reported until July 20 – that’s 5 times the number of last year’s cases, according to a report in The Straits Times.

    Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease expert from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, separates dengue facts from the myths.”The risk of getting the disease is a function of the mosquito, and not the age. It really depends on who the mosquito bites. There is an equal chance for everyone, regardless of age, to contract dengue.”

     

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  • Fact: Dengue affects the elderly more severely than younger people aged 45 and below
    2 / 6 Fact: Dengue affects the elderly more severely than younger people aged 45 and below

    “It is common for a young person to have dengue and not know about it, simply because he or she does not show the obvious symptoms.

    “The reason more elderly people die of dengue is because their immune system is naturally weak.

    “Also, the immune system has to deal with a whole range of other problems — high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease — which come with age.

    “All these existing problems complicate the disease-fighting process in an elderly person and presents a great struggle for an already frail body.”

     

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  • Myth: Dengue affects only certain parts of Singapore, which are the hot spots
    3 / 6 Myth: Dengue affects only certain parts of Singapore, which are the hot spots

    “A person with dengue automatically becomes a mobile hot spot. It is true that if you live in an active dengue cluster, the chances of contracting dengue is higher.

    “However, since Singapore is so small, dengue spreads very easily. Just one infected person can transform an area into an active dengue hot spot.”

    Related: Mosquitoes: why do some children get bitten more than others?

     

     

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  • Myth: Mosquito repellant sprays or lotions will keep us safe
    4 / 6 Myth: Mosquito repellant sprays or lotions will keep us safe

    Mosquito repellant helps in reducing mosquito bites and, in turn, the risk of contracting dengue. But many people forget that sweat can wash it off, in which case it becomes ineffective.”

    Related: Insect repellent tips for pregnant mums and newborns

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  • Fact: The Aedes aegypti mosquito bites people only in the day
    5 / 6 Fact: The Aedes aegypti mosquito bites people only in the day

    “Yes, it is a day biter, which is unlike the Anopheles mosquito, a night biter, which spreads malaria.”

    Related: Which is the most effective mosquito repelling product?

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  • Myth: You cannot contract dengue twice in a lifetime
    6 / 6 Myth: You cannot contract dengue twice in a lifetime

    “You can get infected up to four times. There are four strains and Dengue 1 and 2 are more prevalent in Singapore. Hence, patients usually contract it twice. It is only occasionally that one contracts it three times and, very rarely, four times in a lifetime.”

    Related: How does the Zika virus affect children?

    A version of this story first appeared in The New Paper. 

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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