Many of us are fond of monsoon season after the blistering heat of summer but this season brings with it a host of illnesses. It often leaves you feeling unwell and making vulnerable to diseases and health problems like flu, poor digestion, typhoid, cold, cough, viral fever, dysentery, throat infection, cholera, and diarrhoea.
One of the most common diseases witnessed during this season is Malaria. It is a life-threatening disease which is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquito. This disease can be serious if preventive measures are not against it. Usually malaria occurs throughout the year but this deadly and chronic disease is most predictable during rainy season.
Some 80% of the malaria cases reported in India occur in these states of north and north-east which are home to only 20% of the population. Internal conflicts and increasing population mobility pose additional challenges to eliminating malaria in these regions.
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, which infects the red blood cells and worsens the situation. If this disease is left untreated it can be fatal and lead to complications like jaundice, dehydration, anaemia, brain malaria, liver failure and kidney failure. Few symptoms that can be noticed if suffering from malaria:
- body ache
- cough and diarrhoea
How to prevent Malaria
Max hospital doctor, Dr. Jay Kirtani says, You can prevent malaria naturally by maintaining your personal hygiene and keeping your neighbourhood clean. Here are a few tips for natural malaria prevention.
- First and foremost make sure that you limit outside activity between dusk and dawn. Stay indoors as much as you can.
- Bed nets are a must in the monsoon, in very swampy areas that are badly hit by the monsoon, as these nets can protect you from harmful mosquitoes promising a good night’s sleep.
- Protective clothing which includes long-sleeved shirts and pants is a must in order to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
- Make use of insect repellent that have good amounts of DEET in them.
- Stay away from places where malaria mosquitoes breed easily. Maintain proper levels of hygiene inside and outside your house. Make sure that any waste or garbage is well covered and disposed off as per daily cleaning routine to avoid any breeding of mosquitoes.
- Ensure that there are no puddles or pools of water in or around your house. This is easier said than done for the streets outside, but you'd be alarmed at how quickly mosquitoes breed in small pools of water in buckets or flower pots in and around the house.
- Indoor residual spraying (IRS) of houses can be an effective prevention against malaria. Stay in cold temperatures. Staying in air-conditioned spaces can prevent malaria naturally. Mosquitoes will never thrive in cold temperatures so make sure to stay in cool areas for natural malaria prevention.
- Mosquito screens: Try using mosquito screen, nets and fibre glass meshes for windows and doors. You can also prevent mosquitoes from biting you by using magnetic insect repellents screens on your windows. Latest innovation is the availability of mosquito patches for kids that can be put on their clothes to avoid mosquito bites.
- Citronella oil-based creams: Be fully clothed if you want to avoid mosquito bite or cover the exposed parts of your body by applying citronella oil-based creams. Make sure to mop the floor using few drops of citronella oil in water as this can keep flies and mosquitoes away.
Key Data Facts about Malaria (Source WHO)
- In 2015, 95 countries and territories had ongoing malaria transmission,
- About 3.2 billion people – almost half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria.
- Malaria is preventable and curable, and increased efforts are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places.
- Between 2000 and 2015, malaria incidence among populations at risk (the rate of new cases) fell by 37% globally. In that same period, malaria death rates among populations at risk fell by 60% globally among all age groups, and by 65% among children under 5.
- Sub-Saharan Africa carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 88% of malaria cases and 90% of malaria deaths
WHO recommends that all cases of suspected malaria be confirmed using parasite-based diagnostic testing (either microscopy or rapid diagnostic test) before administering treatment. Results of parasitological confirmation can be available in 30 minutes or less. Treatment, solely on the basis of symptoms should only be considered when a parasitological diagnosis is not possible.