Whenever you go on holiday, you most likely go through a checklist of things to make sure everything goes according to plan - such as air tickets, accommodation, itinerary, travel insurance and even alternative pet care.
But before you put your checklist away, you need to add one more item to that list - mosquito- proofing your home to ensure you don't come home to dengue.
Dengue fever is a painful disease caused by the dengue virus, transmitted by a bite from an infected Aedes mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). In severe cases, it can develop into dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome, which could result in death.
The Aedes mosquito prefers to breed in clean, stagnant water easily found in our homes. Without regular housekeeping to ensure that water does not start pooling within our premises, it would be quite easy for the Aedes mosquito to find a place to lay her eggs, which take less than a day to hatch.
So, when travelling away from home for an extended period, it is imperative that we eliminate potential breeding grounds where stagnant water may accumulate.
Here's how you can do this in just five simple steps.
1. Turn it over
Turn over all water storage containers such as flower pot plates and pails. Wipe the pail rims as they can collect water.
Other places to look out for include dish racks, air conditioner compressor trays and even plant axils - the space between the leaf and the stem can collect water too.
2. Cover it up
Cover all toilet bowls and bamboo pole holders. Rainwater can collect in the bamboo pole holders while you are away and turn into ideal breeding spots for mosquitoes.
Cover all floor traps with masking tape, as stagnant water can accumulate in the drain pipes when not in use over prolonged periods. For added precaution, consider installing anti-mosquito valves so mosquitoes can't get in from the pipes.
3. Seal it off
Seal off the overflow pipe of the flushing cistern in your toilet to ensure that mosquitoes cannot lay eggs in them.
The washroom is one of the most ideal places for Aedes mosquito to breed due to the presence of water in drains and pipes. Therefore, you should be more cautious and seal off any artificial containers like water storage jars, basins and any gaps in pipes.
4. Knock 'em dead
Add sand granular insecticide to places where water cannot be completely removed, such as vases with ornamental plants, toilet bowls and sinks with U-shaped pipes.
5. Keep it clear
If you live in a landed property, keep your roof gutters and the drains around your house clear by removing fallen leaves or objects that could obstruct drainage. Add Bti insecticide in these areas to kill any mosquito larvae.
Think you are ready to come back to a dengue-free home? Take the quiz below and find out!