I am going on holiday in Malaysia and Singapore next week with my 8 year old daughter. I have heard about Dengue Fever and Malaria. I am really scared she might be bitten by the mosquitoes. Has anyone got any advice on the most effective repellant?
May I ask those of you, together with your children, who are survivors of Dengue Fever or Malaria, whether you did use any mosquitoes repellant? Please also give any useful advice.
You can buy some very effective repelents in in these countries if you are worried, but it's malaria & dengue fever is not a problem in Singapore & less so in Malaysia. But it's best to prevent yourself getting bitten with repelent, or by burning coils if you are sitting outside. I know in the UK jungle fever is recommended, but it smells very strong, I didn't like it.
As for repelents, look out for anything with DEET in it, that is the most effective ingredient to prevent you getting bitten, not just by mosquitoes but any other bugs!
Thanks for advice Laura-B.
Does DEET have side-effects in the short and long terms?
Are there any precautions I need to take when using insects repellents?
there's no malaria in Singapore and dengue's under good control after the outbreak last year. There's a successful campaign going on and new regulations and stuff to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds. So there's nothing much to worry about.
But then again it depends on how prone you and your daughter are to being bitten. I'm the sort who can walk in the woods and emerge unscathed but my friends would be jumping and slapping themselves everywhere. There're plenty of theories as to how mosquitoes 'choose' who to bite.
Laura's right about DEET. It's known to be really effective. If you buy it here from the pharmacies it's available under the brand 'OFF' in a variety of forms: sprays, creams etc. Look for the characteristic bright shocking orange packaging. It's safe too, unless you're allergic to any components in the formulation. You can do a Google to find out more. The creams will apply better coverage on skin and the spray can be used on your clothes and belongings. When using the spray don't breathe in and avoid the eyes. Best to spray abit on the palms and pat it onto the face and neck area.
Apart from repellents, avoiding being bitten would be the most effective way of preventing mosquito-borne disease. Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, cover up bare skin (may be impractical cos of the weather) and reapply repellent after excessive sweating or swimming. Best way in Singapore might be to follow the locals and stay in air-con.
Just read in the papers today that there's a viral outbreak in Perak (one of the M'sian states). The virus is the Chikungunya and is spread by mosquitoes.
You may also like to read up on the signs of dengue/malaria so in the really rare case that it happens, see a doctor immediately. But really, don't have to be overly paranoid about anything.
Have a great trip! It's hot and rainy here at the moment.
Thank you for the reassurance and advice, sapphyre.
I have read too much on the internet ... that is what got me scared and paranoid. Read about the outbreak not more than 6 months ago in Singapore and Malaysia.
Sorry for forgetting to ask if you could kindly share with me what the theories are regarding "how mosquitoes 'choose' who to bite".
I only know 2 theories.
One: Mosquitoes bite people with a high level of cholesterol in their blood. Makes sense since only female mosquitoes bite and they need the nutrients they can't get from nectar (their normal diet) to reproduce. Apparently they can smell it in such people.
Two: Mosquitoes bite people of certain blood types. I've heard of A and B but Wikipedia says O. It also says the risk is higher for males (well since they are female mosquitoes ) and overweight people.
Coming back to the outbreaks..nah..6 months is a long time ago for dengue. Don't want to frighten you but there are some cases of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease here now, but they tend to occur in young children in places where they congregate together, like kindergartens so I don't think your daughter will be at much risk. Again, good measures have been put into place to prevent transmission, like closing down schools and play centres for a few days if they have a number of cases and isolating affected children from others.
Just be sure to watch normal hygiene habits like washing hands before and after eating and going to the toilet, covering up when sneezing or coughing etc. Children like to rub their eyes and nose with their hands so you may liek to stop your girl when you see her doing this.
As said before, any insect repellent with DEET in it should be good. Get some 50% stuff which you can spray on yourself, and some 100% stuff which you can either use on your clothes, or mix with water to make new 50% stuff for your skin.
Take some form of malaria pills - won't help with dengue, but you can avoid malaria.
Dress sensibly, particularly at dawn and dusk (I think) when the mozzies are out, cover up arms and legs.
Shouldn't be a problem in Singapore or in any of the buit up areas of Malaysia. Sabah has some malaria issues though.
Hi sapphyre and drixo,
Thank you for your advice and reassurance.
Sorry for not responding sooner as I was busy dashing around trying to sort a thousand and one things out before I fly in 2 days time.
I would really need a holiday after all of this, eh !!
Just returned from holiday in Malaysia and Singapore. Had a fantastic time. The mosquito repellent with DEET is rather oily and caused much discomfort in the hot climate. Told by the Pharmacist in Malaysia that those made locally with Citronella are very effective. Used it with good result.