World Malaria Day is recognized globally on the 25th of April with an aim to spread awareness about this mosquito-borne disease. This year the theme for World Malaria Day is “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives”. India is amongst the 6 countries that are most prone to malaria and it has been estimated that malaria impacts 241 million individuals globally in 2020. Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria are vital, else it can lead to complications and be fatal. Let’s understand how we can prevent malaria and how indications can help you navigate whether you or someone around you might have contracted malaria.
Malaria is an illness caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to humans by insect bites from infected female Anopheles mosquitos. Malaria caused in humans occurs by five parasitic species, two of which–P. falciparum and P. vivax are the most dangerous.
Indications of Malaria
The symptoms that show Malaria is Fever, Lethargy, Heaviness on the head, headache, Diarrhea, Pain in joints and muscles, Coughing and Vomiting, or/and nausea.
We should take precautionary measures to prevent Malaria.
Vaccine: Vaccination for malaria helps provide immunity.
Shield the skin: Malaria in most cases is spread through mosquito bites. To avoid this, the best solution is to keep the exposed parts of your body covered. This is highly encouraged in case you are traveling or living in a malaria-prone area.
Insect repellent: Use mosquito repellents when outdoors as it not only protects you from malaria but many other insect-related diseases such as dengue, etc. DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone containing repellents are encouraged to protect you from malaria. However, these repellents are not advised to be used on the face or for kids under the age of 3. Please talk to your doctor for safer alternatives.
Beware of reused needles: Another transmitter of malaria is used needles. While getting an injection of any kind, always make sure the doctor/ nurse tears the needle’s seal infant of you to avoid transmission of diseases. Reused needles can transmit multiple diseases into your body and hence, being careful is crucial.
Insect repellents at home/nets: Preventive measures against malaria should be taken at all times. While indoors, you are encouraged to use nets around the bed, sitting area, etc.
Repellents for clothes: As much as shielding your skin with clothes is better than direct exposure. Using repellents that are essentially applied to clothes is a helpful prevention tactic.
Malaria can be treated, and we can sublime its symptoms through correct medication. A few of the most common medications for malaria are Quinine, Doxycycline, Chloroquine, Artemisinin, Mefloquine, and Atovaquone.
Finally, in case you live in a malaria-prone area and are experiencing the symptoms discussed above, we suggest you immediately contact a health professional. Furthermore, prevention is better than cure. Be mindful of your surroundings and take the necessary preventive measures to avoid catching malaria altogether.