Dengue fever has become an increasing concern in the last few months with more than 22,400 infections being recorded this year in Singapore and with over 400 clusters island-wide. Dengue is spread through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito and can cause severe illness or even death.
Even though spray-on mosquito repellent is most commonly used to avoid being bitten, it could irritate those with dermatitis or broken skin. It is also not suitable for infants and pregnant women as most spray-ons use DEET, a chemical that is potentially unsafe when in high concentration. Young children and the elderly also have weaker respiratory tract resistance and might be more sensitive towards spray-on repellent, especially if it is used incorrectly. Here is a quick guide on dengue prevention and other natural alternatives for mosquito repellent.
1. Preventing Mosquito Bites Indoors
To prevent mosquito bites at home, install screens on windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home. Keep unscreened windows and doors closed as well. Turning on the air-conditioning will also deter mosquitoes as they hate cold places. If you’d rather use a fan, make it blow towards you at a high speed to prevent mosquitoes from landing on your skin.
Rehmannia 8, a unique formula of 8 herbs specially concocted by Eu Yan Sang herbalists, can also be placed in sachets in corners of your house to repel mosquitoes. It is made up of honeysuckle, clove, wormwood, angelica dahurica, ageratum, calamus, perilla leaf, and mint. Placing it in breathable bags around the house will not only repel mosquitoes but also add a fragrant and relaxing smell to your home. These bags can retain their mosquito-repelling effects for up to half a month and are available for purchase upon request at any Eu Yan Sang Singapore outlet.
2. Preventing Mosquito Bites Outdoors
When outdoors, prevent mosquito bites by dressing in protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes that will lessen your exposure, especially at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Light and khaki clothing are also less likely to attract mosquitoes as compared to brighter clothing.
3. Plants that repel mosquitoes
Plants such as marigold, lemon balm, mint, and basil also have natural mosquito-repelling effects. Marigolds have a unique scent that repulses mosquitoes and can also be planted with other vegetables such as tomatoes to repel other insects. Lemon balm and mint are also easy to grow and multi-purpose as its leaves can be used to make tea. Basil is not only the easiest herb to maintain, but also a quick and easy mosquito repellent that can also be used for cooking.
4. Mosquito Repellent Alternatives
Natural repellents such as citronella oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, or even vanilla are great alternatives that are suitable for both children and pregnant women. Although they last for a shorter duration, patches such as Eu Yan Sang’s Mosquito Repellent Patch have an extended-release time, making it long-lasting by repelling mosquitoes indoors and outdoors for up to 12 hours.
Images: Eu Yan Sang and Envato