Dengue Fever Outbreak Continues, Hawaii Wants to Say Aloha-Goodbye

If you are planning an escape from the winter, packing your bags and flying from the mainland to Hawaii, you may want to think about mosquito repellent. There are now 49 confirmed cases of dengue fever in Hawaii, with 39 Hawaiian residents and 10 tourists infected.

Ten of the people infected by dengue fever are children, and the onset of the outbreak occurred between September 11th and November 7th, according to health officials at the Hawaiian Department of Health, Disease Outbreak and Control Division. The outbreak has been limited to the Big Island of Hawaii; however, the Hawaiian Department of Health continues to monitor all islands.

Dengue fever is not endemic to Hawaii. The virus is thought to have been carried by a tourist to the island. “It’s likely an infected traveler infected the local mosquito population, which led to this cluster,” Dr. Sarah Park, a state epidemiologist, told news reporters.

This is the first dengue fever outbreak in the Hawaiian islands since 2011, when five people were confirmed to have the virus on the island of Oahu. Presently, patients who have been infected in this latest outbreak are either recovering or have recovered, according to health officials. 

Dengue fever symptoms include fever and joint pain, often referred to as “bone fever.” People are exposed to the virus via mosquito bites, and symptoms occur five to seven days after infection.

As the number of cases continues to increase, Hawaiian officials are imploring tourists and residents to take preventive measures. “In order to keep Hawaii safe and dengue-free, we are asking the community for their help in following the easy tips and suggestions shared through our campaign and joining us as together we ‘Fight the Bite,'” Dr. Virginia Pressler, the director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, stated in a campaign announcement.

Aloha beach writingThe preventive measures that can be taken by residents of, and tourists to, Hawaii include insect repellent, dispelling standing water, and wearing longer sleeves and pants to limit exposure of mosquitoes to your skin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends, “To protect yourself, use repellent on your skin while indoors or out. When possible, wear long sleeves and pants for additional protection.”

The only way to significantly decrease your risk of being exposed to dengue fever is to either utilize insect repellent or cancel your trip to Hawaii, or any other worldly locale where dengue fever is endemic. Many of you may not be so keen on using store-bought insect repellent, loaded with chemicals that can be harmful to your overall health and wellness. 

What can you use? Great question — there are several alternatives to the toxic insect repellents littering the shelves at supermarkets and sporting-good stores. One exceptional, all-natural alternative is to utilize essential oils. Lavender, eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemon, lemongrass, sage, thyme, and peppermint are all excellent essential oils that can keep swarming mosquitos at bay. Lavender is also a great option for kids, since it is considered child safe in moderation, according to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.  

Mix a few drops of your essential oil of choice with a carrier oil like apricot kernel oil, extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, or an unscented natural lotion, and rub into areas that will be exposed. These oils can also be utilized during bedtime, to keep mosquitos away and you dreaming happily. Mix a few drops in a diffuser, and let the aromatherapy do what it does best: keep you mosquito bite and dengue fever free!

What are some other natural alternatives you use to keep biting insects away?

—Stephen Seifert


Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.



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