Schools in Goa need education on how to rein in the transmission of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases and various managements should ensure weekly monitoring of potential mosquito-breeding sites on school premises, according to Dr Vijay Naik, a senior consultant physician at Healthway Hospitals.
Dr Naik’s comments come in the wake of a spate of dengue cases reported in Goa, with the month of August alone reporting nearly 3,000 suspect cases, with several schools also experiencing a bump in dengue infections.
“Schools need education on dealing with dengue, including its effects and prevention. They should quickly alert staff about stagnant water on the premises. Weekly monitoring of potential breeding sites must be conducted within school premises,” says Dr Naik.
Due to heavy rainfall, stagnant and clean water pools provide an ideal breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes, increasing the threat to public health. The prevalence of dengue transmitted by vectors is elevated because of the growth of mosquito larvae, contributing to its spread.
According to Dr Naik, to curb the spread of dengue within housing complexes, it is important to undertake preventive actions, such as routinely cleaning vases where clean or stagnant water is accumulated to disrupt the larvae-formation cycle, ensuring proper waste disposal, employing mosquito-control methods and educating residents on dengue prevention techniques.
Grass within the premises, whether in housing complexes or schools, should be trimmed regularly, he advises.
The essential guidelines to follow at home during a dengue outbreak consist of practising cold sponging along with medicines to help bring down the temperature, adhering to fever management as per doctor’s advice with regular monitoring of vitals, adequate sleep, wearing clothes that cover the body adequately or the use of mosquito repellent creams and mosquito nets to prevent further mosquito bites.
“To cope with the debilitating viral fever, a balanced diet with vitamin and mineral-rich foods must be incorporated, but the paramount focus should be on maintaining hydration,” says Dr Naik.
Once infected with dengue, intravascular dehydration occurs and water moves into the extracellular space, hence, it is necessary to maintain proper hydration starting from day one.
Ensuring adequate water intake is crucial to prevent rapid platelet depletion and to avoid complications such as low blood pressure, liver issues, cardiac problems, neurological complications and kidney failure associated with dengue. It's advisable to drink one to two glasses of water every hour if continuous consumption is not possible.
According to Dr Naik, staying hydrated with warm concoctions, herbal teas, broths, soups and cold liquids like lemon water, buttermilk or coconut water is recommended.
Consuming seasonal fruits like jamun, papaya, pears, plums, cherries, and vegetables is required for accessing nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants and fibre along with probiotics like yoghurt and buttermilk that are beneficial for gut health.