It is very disheartened to learn that one pregnant women is affected by Zika virus in Singapore.
Zika virus can affect everyone, but its effect on pregnant women is more serious as it can cause microcephaly in which head circumference of the newborn will be less than the average of that of other newborns who are not affected by Zika virus.
Why mosquitoes prefer pregnant women?
Unfortunately, mosquitoes prefer pregnant women. According to a study in 2000, pregnant women are twice likely to be bitten by mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are attracted to exhaled carbon dioxide. Pregnant women exhale more carbon dioxide than non-pregnant women due to their above-average weight.
Another reason to make pregnant women more likely targets for mosquitoes is that pregnant women have higher body temperature. Mosquitoes take this as a cue for landing and biting.
Prevention of Mosquitoes Bites
Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours such as black and navy blue, It is best to dress in light colours such as white to reduce the risk of this.
Long sleeves and long pants
If possible, try to wear long-sleeves and long pants, this will cover skin and reduce the chance of mosquito bites.
Do not have sex
Zika virus can be transmitted through sexual conduct. It is therefore possible for it to be transmitted from male partner to the pregnant women through sexual contact. If you live in area where Zika virus is detected, you and your partner may consider this option.
If possible, stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
If air conditioner is not available, try to sleep in a bed net. Bed net may not be easy to find in Singapore, you can buy one from some online retailer like Lazada.
There are many mosquitoes repellents products available in market. Choose one that is suitable for pregnant women. Talk to your gynecologists if you are not sure.
First, always follow the product label instructions.
Second, reapply as directed as their effectiveness will lose over some time. According to NEA website (http://www.dengue.gov.sg), citronella is effective for short durations and has to be reapplied more frequently. Tiger palm mosquitoes repellent patch is known to contain citronella oil.
Third, apply repellent only to exposed skin and/or clothing , do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing. Never use repellent over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
Fourth, do not apply to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using sprays, do not spray directly onto face. Spray on your hands first and then apply to the face.
Lastly, If you are using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
Turn pails and watering cans over and store them under shelter
Loosen soil from potted plants to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water on the surface of the hardened soil.
Do not block the flow of water in scupper drains along common corridors in HDB estates. Avoid placing potted plants and other paraphernalia over the scupper drains.
Cover rarely used gully traps. Replace the gully trap with non-perforated ones and install anti-mosquito valves
Cover bamboo pole holders after use. Rainwater can potentially accumulate in these bamboo pole holders if they are uncovered and create a habitat.
No tray or receptacles should be placed beneath and/or on top of any air-conditioning unit so as not to create a condition favourable for mosquito breeding.
Remove water in plant pot plates. Clean and scrub the plate thoroughly to remove mosquito eggs. Avoid the use of plant pot plates, if possible.
Change water in flower vases. Clean and scrub the inner sides of vases. Wash roots of flowers and plants thoroughly as mosquito eggs can stick to them easily.
Last, always follow the latest update from MOH and NEA. If the area where you stay is affected, you may need to step up the measure.
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