Back to basics

The sudden increase in the number of dengue fever cases aggravated by several deaths in the different parts of the region has caused people to panic about the situation. From its previous cyclical trend during its early stages, dengue has become an all-weather and year-round illness which, according to health experts, is curable and preventable if only people adhere to cleanliness inside and outside their homes.

Dengue has been branded as a deadly illness because if not given the proper medical attention at the right time, individuals who contact the illness often end up dying because of complications in their health condition. Every year, the government, particularly the health department, has constantly issued dengue fever updates on the status of dengue fever cases purposely to instill awareness among the populace on the importance of adapting preventive measures within their homes to lessen the breeding places of dengue that facilitate the multiplication of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes posing a serious threat to their respective communities.

The health department has ruled that dengue fever is one of the dreaded illnesses which could be elevated to outbreak or epidemic stages once the rapid increase in the number of cases in the different parts of the region will continue in the next several weeks. Because of the serious negative effects of climate change, dengue carrying mosquitoes that thrive on clear and stagnant water now also thrive in murky waters that are stagnant.

The rapid increase in the number of dengue fever cases regionwide resulted to overcrowding in the different public and private hospitals in the different cities and provinces. Some of the individuals who had been diagnosed for dengue are now forced to be on out-patient status considering the inadequate rooms in the different hospitals.

Some local officials are proposing that local governments that have recorded double or triple fold increases in the number of dengue fever cases should now be declared under dengue outbreak but health authorities are not inclined to recommend the declaration of areas under outbreak status because of its expected serious negative implications to the economy of a locality. The health department continues to emphasize on the need for the people to search and destroy the breeding areas of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes, especially within and outside their homes, to prevent the mosquitoes from multiplying and spreading the dreaded illness in their respective communities. For those who are experiencing fever for several days, they must already seek medical attention to be accorded the appropriate medication since self-medication for any kind of illness is not advisable.

The fight against dengue should be a concerted effort among all stakeholders with the government at the forefront of the campaign. However, government cannot do it alone but with the cooperation of everyone, the dreaded dengue illness will surely be effectively and efficiently addressed. The populace can do a lot in preventing the increase of the dengue virus because the effort should start from themselves with the clearing of breeding grounds of the dengue-carrying mosquitoes and acting in a timely manner when household members show signs of dengue.

The health department and the different health services in the localities are obliged to provide the local government units, the barangays and the residents with technical assistance on how to address the dengue cases in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

We are in the right track to prevent the increase in the number of dengue fever cases. Every citizen must do their part while the government is doing its part in sustaining a widespread information and education campaign which we must internalize and not take for granted. Our situation now warrants the declaration of an outbreak or epidemic but health officials are handling the situation well so that the tourism industry in Baguio and Benguet will not be compromised. We were able to learn our lessons from previous experiences that is why we do not want our local officials and health experts to commit a grave mistake that will again bring us back to zero in our efforts to entice foreign and local visitors to come to our city and province and spend a well deserved vacation.

Let us continue doing the right things that we are mandated to do to rid our homes and our community of the proliferation of the dengue carrying mosquitoes. Let us constantly remind our neighbors to emulate what we are doing to significantly contribute to rid our communities of the dreaded virus. We must not forget basic principle of maintaining cleanliness in our homes, to go back to basics, and we will surely go a long way in making this world a healthier place for us and our children. We can combat the dengue virus by doing our part at home.