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Dengue: A Big Threat To Your Little Ones

by on 05/11/2020 2755

An Interview with Racheal Kwacz, Child and Family Development Specialist and Mr. Makoto Anezaki, Marketing Director of Unicharm Malaysia.

Mosquitoes may seem really harmless, just one slap and they’re dead but are you aware that mosquitoes, besides their itchy bite, are the cause of many diseases such as zika, malaria, chikungunya, and dengue, one of the most prevalent mosquito borne diseases in Malaysia. In fact, dengue is such a serious matter in Malaysia that the Ministry of Health maintains a dedicated dengue webpage which is updated weekly.

So, what is actually dengue?

Dengue is a tropical disease caused by, you guessed it, mosquitoes or more specifically, mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus. They are called Aedes mosquitoes. Although the virus cannot spread from one person to another, various studies have reported that if a mosquito bites a person with dengue, it can then transmit the virus to another individual.

There are 4 strains of the dengue virus, DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4. Den-2 is most common in Malaysia - said Anezaki-san.

“But the recent outbreak in Singapore was caused by DEN-2 strain”, he added.

There has been a total of 80, 838 reported cases of dengue in Malaysia with 141 deaths since 29 December 2019.

Aedes mosquitoes breed in warm, humid areas in stagnant water and they breed easily, as explained by Anezaki-san, “Aedes mosquitoes only need as little as one cup of stagnant water to start breeding”.

The virus can cause fever, rashes, headaches, muscle pain, and in more severe cases, death.

Dengue: A Big Threat To Your Little Ones

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Usually in children, signs and symptoms are rather mild as compared to a teenager or an adult. Nonetheless, parents should always keep an eye out if you child exhibits common signs of dengue fever which may include:

  • High fever
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Rashes
  • Mild bleeding in nose of gums
  • Easy bruising

At times, severe cases if dengue can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) which needs to be treated immediately. Bring your child to the nearest clinic or hospital and they will test for dengue using a Dengue Rapid Test Kit if they exhibit symptoms of dengue. Parents need to keep in mind that there is no cure or vaccines for dengue available to the public as of yet, so prevention is key.

Now, how do we prevent dengue? “It’s simple, just eliminate all potential breeding grounds for Aedes”, said Anezaki-san.

True, the best way to protect your child is to eliminate all potential breeding grounds. Make sure your house and the surrounding areas are free from stagnant water. Check in flowerpots, watering cans, and/or used tyres lying around the house.

It’s important to take charge of dengue. Educating children on the importance of combating dengue through educational games like an Aedes Busting Hunt, which I do with my kids, where we go around the house looking for places that may cause mosquitoes to breed. - adds Ms. Kwacz.

Dengue: A Big Threat To Your Little Ones

Photo from Pexels

Busting aedes isn’t just a one-man effort, it has to come from the whole family. By making these activities into a routine, families can bond while making their homes safe and happy.

Ms. Kwacz also adds that parents can dress their child in appropriate clothing (long sleeved shirts, long pants) with bright colours to repel mosquitoes, especially when they go out. Packing a simple “anti-mosquito” pack with insect repellent and creams made from citronella as they are usually safe for your child and remind them to use it when outside can also help prevent from getting bitten.

Dengue: A Big Threat To Your Little Ones

Photo from Mamypoko Against Dengue

Mamypoko’s latest Extra Dry Protect diaper – the world’s first Antimos diapers help repel mosquitoes, keeping your little one safe. Microcapsules with lemongrass extract on the tape are activated when rubbed, ensuring a comfortable, mosquito-free experience for your child for up to 6 hours!

Check out more regarding Mamypoko’s latest range and their fight against dengue here and here.

Dengue: A Big Threat To Your Little Ones

Makoto Anezaki is a father of four with a strong interest in consumer goods manufacturing who wanted to directly impact people and make their lifestyles more abundant, Makoto Anezaki is currently the Marketing Director of Unicharm Malaysia. In his current role he oversees the entire marketing team, and its different business units such as the baby care, feminine care, healthcare and pet care units. Makoto Anezaki is also responsible for the overall marketing strategy in Malaysia for all the company’s brands. Having lived in Malaysia since 2014, Anezaki-san and his family have made Malaysia their home, enjoying the year-round tropical weather.

Dengue: A Big Threat To Your Little Ones

Racheal Kwacz is a Child & Family Development Specialist, women’s leadership speaker and mama tribe writer. Having trained, educated, and lived in the USA, Racheal studied under Deborah Carlisle Solomon, former RIE® Executive Director, in Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach. She has a degree in Theatre and Child & Family Development and is a master of marrying both her backgrounds into a lively, fun, interactive experience for her audiences and workshop participants. As a thought leader, Racheal has had years of international experience working with children, training teachers, leading and developing curriculum for childcare centres as well as being a parent educator.