When the hot weather months start in Puerto Rico, so does the risk of getting the dengue virus, due to mosquito bites and new mosquito breeding grounds. We have seen how this mosquito, called Aedes aegypti, has caused harm to the health of Puerto Ricans in earlier years. That is why it is vital to take proper measures to stop mosquito breeding grounds, prevent their spread, and, thus, avoid their bites. The principal epidemiologist of the Puerto Rico Department of Health showed that after the number of cases are increasing, the risk of dengue has become an epidemic.

The dengue virus is passed through the bite of this type of infected mosquito, mainly during the hours of dawn and dusk when these insects are most active. Once infected, the mosquito can transmit the virus to people with just one bite, making it a potentially dangerous carrier. Also, a single mosquito can bite many people and infect them all.

Dengue symptoms can change from mild to severe. The most common are high fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea and vomiting, rash, and bleeding from the nose or gums. If these symptoms are left untreated, dengue can cause deadly complications. If you or someone you know feels these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor right away and get a medical order to get tested. The test known as PCR finds the presence of the dengue virus in a blood test from the patient. It is performed in a specialized lab and can find the presence of the virus even in the early stages of infection before symptoms appear.

In the meantime, rest, stay hydrated, and take meds to calm symptoms, such as acetaminophen, to reduce fever and pain. Avoid using aspirin and NSAIDs like ibuprofen, as they can increase the risk of bleeding.

The most important thing is to prevent dengue and new breeding grounds. Dengue prevention is key to stopping people from getting infected. These mosquitoes thrive more in dug-out zones that become stale pools that turn into breeding grounds for mosquitoes, raising the rate of dengue. That is why walking around the house, mostly the yard, is needed for any upside-down containers that could collect water. The most common places where water collects, and these mosquitoes breed are:

  1. Plant pots
  2. Saucers under pots
  3. Old car tires
  4. Deflated children’s sports balls
  5. Pet food dishes
  6. Clogged drains
  7. Trash cans or garbage containers

Finding, draining, and turning them over is key so there is no chance of water stock. In the case of drains, it is important to clean them most often to make sure that water drains the right way. If it’s a pet’s dish, change its water to fresh water once or twice a day.

After getting rid of all places where these mosquitoes can breed, the second most important thing is to protect ourselves from getting bitten. This can be done by using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when going outside, turning on fans to push mosquitoes away, and keeping doors and windows closed to prevent mosquitoes from coming into the house. Suppose a dengue outbreak occurs in the zone where you live. In that case, extra measures can be taken, such as fumigating with insecticides at home and on the premises and acquiring either coal or electric mosquito repellents.

It is important to note that dengue is not passed straight from person to person. Still, suppose a person is infected with the virus and is bitten by a mosquito. In that case, that mosquito can transmit the virus to other people. Therefore, if a person has dengue, they must take great care not to be bitten by a mosquito, as that mosquito will infect nearby people.

In the case of older adults, dengue can be harsher due to their weakened immune system. They may feel more severe complications and a higher risk of developing severe forms of the disease. Therefore, older adults must take extra precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites and seek urgent medical attention if they feel dengue symptoms.

Dengue is a severe disease with serious results if not treated properly. Take measures to prevent mosquito breeding grounds and prevent bites. But above all, if you have symptoms, seek health care attention right away. Remember that Triple-S members have the TeleConsulta MD application for virtual health care sessions. For more information access: Teleconsulta MD: Online Medical Consultation (grupotriples.com)