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How can we prevent Chikungunya fever?

Q: I am a 34 years old man staying abroad and planning to visit India on a vacation next month. Lately I have been hearing many cases of Chikungunya and other diseases, which is holding me from visiting India because I am worried about my 2 children, a boy and a girl of 2 years and 11 months respectively. How can we prevent ourselves especially children from getting Chikungunya and other diseases like dengue and flu? What are the precautions to be taken?

A:Currently there is no vaccine for Chikungunya or dengue. The only way to prevent Chikungunya fever / dengue is - don't get bitten by a mosquito! This is easier said than done in a tropical area such as India. Some of the following precautions can help reduce the risk of mosquito bites:

  1. Use mosquito net when sleeping during daytime.
  2. Wear a dress which covers most of the body. Also, there are repellents available, which can be applied on dress materials.
  3. Use mosquito coils or repellents (which contains Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or DEET).
  4. Use curtains or window nets, which prevent entry of mosquitoes to the house.
  5. Use of cream or spray that can be applied on skin. This masks body odour and effectively you are invisible from mosquitoes. Very handy if you are visiting an area where Chikungunya /dengue is reported.
It is possible to get vaccinated for flu and still get influenza. The vaccine is reformulated each season for a few specific flu strains but cannot possibly include all the strains actively infecting people in the world for that season.

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