While people with dengue do develop immunity, there are four known strains of dengue. What this means is that even if a person has immunity to one strain of dengue, they can still get infected with the other strains. This is why it is important to remain vigilant in avoiding dengue because being infected more than once is associated with having a more severe and complicated course.
Why Are Dengue Fever and Leptospirosis Common During The Rainy Season?
Both dengue fever and leptospirosis are most common during the rainy season. But why does this happen?
In the case of leptospirosis, the bacteria that is responsible for the infection can live for up to 152 days in fresh water. This means that any unchlorinated water that comes in contact with urine or infected soil can easily spread the disease. Flooding is also a common occurrence in the country, especially in Metro Manila. Coupled with the sanitation problems, rat infestation and the large population, this means that leptospirosis can spread easily in communities.
In the case of dengue, the rainy season makes for favorable breeding conditions. The constant rains also cause water to pool and stagnate in certain areas, which are prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes. This combination of factors creates conditions that can cause the mosquito population to increase, which increases the risk that people could get bitten and infected with dengue.
Safety Tips to Avoid Dengue Fever and Leptospirosis
In order to lower your risk of getting infected with dengue fever and leptospirosis, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- If you live in a flood-prone area, avoid wading or walking in floodwaters as much as possible. If it cannot be avoided, be sure to wear boots to prevent being in contact with the water.
- Children also need to avoid swimming or playing in floodwaters since they can get injured, or infected with leptospirosis and other diseases.
- Be sure to keep your surroundings clean and free of clutter. Leptospirosis is primarily spread by rats, and by keeping your surroundings clean and free from pests, you can lower the risk of infection.
- Drain any sources of standing water to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. If you need them to store water, keep the containers covered tightly.
- If you or a loved one shows signs of leptospirosis or dengue, be sure to consult the doctor immediately. Leptospirosis can be treated successfully, but only with the right medicine. In the case of dengue, early treatment is important to prevent the symptoms from worsening.
- If you live in an area with lots of mosquitoes, be sure to use mosquito repellents or use a mosquito net at night. Defrogging may also be beneficial.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants in order to lower the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
- If you have been exposed to flood waters, consult a doctor and ask if you need prophylaxis (medicines to prevent leptospirosis from developing).