What is malaria?
Malaria is an infectious disease that is transmitted through mosquito bites. Malaria is caused by parasites in blood, namely plasmodium. There are two main kinds of malaria, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. The former is a severe type that may kill patients whereas the latter is mild but chronic.
What are common signs and symptoms of malaria?
The initial symptoms are malaise (not feeling well), low grade fever, body pain or cold like symptoms followed by intermittent high fever.
Pale and yellowish skin.
When do the symptoms start after mosquito bite?
Generally, the symptoms start approximately 10 to 14 days after the biting of an infective mosquito. However, there are some types of malaria that the symptoms may start one to two or several months after mosquito biting.
Where is malaria transmitted?
There is great variety of malaria in epidemiology in the South-East Asia Region. Malaria transmission exists in cities (urban malaria) in India and other South- East Asia countries.In India no region or area is free from malaria.
How to prevent malaria?
There are three main ways to prevent malaria:
Prevent mosquitoes from biting people:
sleep under mosquito nets (ordinary or insecticide-treated)
screen all windows and doors in the house or, at least, in rooms where people sleep;
apply mosquito repellents to the skin; and
use mosquito coils.Control mosquito breeding:
eliminate places where mosquitoes can lay eggs;
reclaim land by filling and draining;
introduce special fish that eat mosquito larvae; and
put special insecticides in the water to kill mosquito larvae.Kill adult mosquitoes
spray rooms with insecticides before going to bed; and
participate in activities carried out by the health services, such as spraying the inside walls of houses with insecticides that kill mosquitoes.
Where do mosquitoes breed ?
Malaria mosquitoes may breed in:
fresh or brackish water (slightly salty) water, especially if it is stagnant or slow- flowing;
open streams with very slow-flowing water along their banks;
pools of water left after the rains or as a result of poor water management;
swamps, rice fields, and reservoirs;
small ponds, pools, borrow-pits, canals, and ditches with stagnant water, in and around villages;
animal hoof-prints filled with water;
cisterns (water tanks) for storage of water, and
anything that may collect water – plant pots, old car tyres, etc.
mosquitoes usually “operate” within a 2-kilometre radius.
How to recognize malaria ?
Symptoms of malaria
One of the first symptoms is fiver accompanied with chill, rigor and followed by sweating. These symptoms recur at regular intervals (daily, 48 or 72 hours).
If the person has had these symptoms, then it could be malaria. See the doctor or the health worker as soon as possible.The danger signs of severe malaria are:
changes in behaviour (convulsions; unconsciousness; drowsiness; confusion; inability to walk, sit, speak, or recognize relatives);
repeated vomiting, inability to retain oral medication, inability to eat or drink;
passage of small quantities of urine or no urine, or passage of dark urine;
unexplained heavy bleeding from nose, gums or other sotes;
high fever (above 39˚ C);
severe dehydration (loose skin and sunken eyes);
the whites of the eyes turning yellow.
What to do when someone has malaria?
When someone has ANY of the above symptoms, it is possible the patient has severe malaria. The patient’s life could be in danger. Urgent treatment is needed at a clinic or hospital to save the patient’s life. Do not waste any time in seeking good medical advice.
Remember, malaria is dangerous. But it is preventable through a multi-sectoral effort to address and control the problem by individuals, community, media and their sectors.