While our country continues to battle the toughest mass health emergency that we have ever come across, it is a sad truth that our health system that is already overburdened because of COVID has to inevitably make arrangements for the treatment of seasonal diseases like Malaria, Typhoid, and Dengue which are known to be as life-threatening or sometimes more life-threatening than COVID.
A common trend is being witnessed currently wherein people are extremely vigilant about COVID safety but they seem to be equally ignorant when it comes to protection from seasonal diseases like Malaria.
What is Malaria?
Before we discuss the precautions and the symptoms of Malaria, it is important to know the reason behind the origin of this disease. Malaria is a disease caused by exposure to a parasite called Plasmodium. Now, this parasite does not infect humans directly but is transmitted by being bitten from a female Anopheles mosquito who is infected by this parasite. Notably, there are five different species of this parasite that are known to cause Malaria in humans, out of these five, two species namely, P. Falciparum along with P. Vivax are known to be the most deadly.
Malaria is a disease that predominantly erupted in Africa several years ago. It continues to haunt the African region but it also has its roots spread in the Indian subcontinent. Let us share a shocking statistic with you. According to the World Health Organization, India continues to have approximately 15 million cases of Malaria annually with 15,000 to 20,000 deaths every year. Malaria might not seem like an immediate threat amidst all the diseases and infections that continue to bother humanity, but it is indeed a fatal threat that should not be ignored.
Who does it affect the most?
If we talk about age groups, children under the age of 5-6 years are the most susceptible to Malaria. Not just kids, but Malaria is known to have a higher severity when it comes to infants, pregnant women, people suffering from HIV/AIDS as well as people with a weak or compromised Immune system.
What are the symptoms of Malaria?
In terms of symptomology, the symptoms of Malaria are no different than the symptoms of seasonal flu. Fever, headache, prolonged body pain and weakness are some of the initial mild symptoms of Malaria. In severe cases, symptoms also include a high risk of serious anemia, respiratory trouble, and brain fever; mostly in the case of children. If Malaria is caused by the P. Falciparum Parasite, then symptoms can escalate within 24 hours. Nevertheless, with the help of a few measures, one can safeguard themselves from the dangers of Malaria.
Prevention from the disease
Since Malaria is caused due to mosquitoes, the first and the most important mode of protection that needs to be exercised is mosquito control. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stale water. This is why it is important to check and empty any sources of stale water that can lie around objects like cooler ducts, drums, backyards, and more.
The mosquitoes that cause Malaria are found to be most functional in the rainy season when there is a high level of moisture in the air. Hence, it is advisable to make use of mosquito repellent gels and creams and apply them topically before stepping out in the rainy season.
At home, you can use good quality mosquito repellent nets and electronic repellents that keep mosquitoes away for longer. Additionally, like in the case of any other flu or disease, your immunity plays an important role in determining the level of protection that you will have against Malaria.
In regions exposed to mosquitoes and Malaria cases, partial immunity is noticed to be developed. But when it comes to children and infants with an underdeveloped immune system, Malaria can be dangerous. A healthy diet with plenty of immune-boosting foods is a must to protect your kids from Malaria.
Malaria is dangerous, but it is also preventable and treatable. There are plenty of Anti-Malaria drugs available that speedily treat the disease and stop it from becoming severe. The best way to stay safe is to diagnose it timely through a blood test or any other diagnostic test that can provide valid results within a short period. The earlier Malaria is diagnosed, the easier it can be treated. Late diagnosis increases the severity of the disease.
In current times, when we are in the middle of a nationwide lockdown, one can consult a physician through telemedicine and share your symptoms with them, if any. Docty helps you do exactly this through its platform. Through proper and timely medication, Malaria is treatable across all age groups.