Disease Malaria – Symptoms Causes & Prevention

What causes Malaria?

Alt text= Malaria
Malaria

Malaria is a serious condition caused by the transmission of Plasmodium. The parasitic protozoa enter the human body by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The four kinds of malaria parasites that infect humans. 

About Malaria

According to the reports of the World Health Organization (WHO), the outbreak of malaria in 2013 affected around 19.7 million people across the globe. More than 5.83 lakh people lost their lives. A major ratio of this population consisted of children below 5 years of age. 25th of April is known as World Malaria Day to generate awareness about the threat of Malaria so that people can take necessary precautions to stay protected. 

What is Malaria? 

The deadly disease is caused by the female Anopheles mosquito, which is the vector of the parasite called Plasmodium. The mosquitoes are most common during the monsoons when the rainwater gets clogged and contaminated. Stagnant water is the breeding ground for mosquitoes. When a female Anopheles mosquito bites a healthy individual, the parasite cells enter the body of the healthy individual through the sting.

Bite of an infected mosquito

The mosquitoes that cause malaria carry the Plasmodium parasite which they get from biting someone who has already been infected. The parasite incubates and becomes infectious for the next human or animal that the mosquito may bite. Once you receive the parasite through the bite of the mosquito, it multiplies in the liver and become ready to infect the mosquito that bites you.

What causes Malaria? 

  • The cause of Malaria is the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito that carries the Malaria causing parasites. 
  • The parasite Plasmodium falciparum is the most dangerous one as it leads to the death of the affected person. The disease spreads from an infected human to a mosquito and then from the mosquito to a healthy individual. The parasite spreads in this way.
  • Malaria is also caused by using an infected needle or exchanging blood from an infected person.  
  • If a pregnant woman is infected with Malaria fever, the fetus will also be affected by the same.

How malaria spreads from one to other

The bite of an infected mosquito is the most common cause of malaria. The mosquitoes that cause malaria carry the Plasmodium parasite which they get from biting someone who has already been infected. The parasite incubates and becomes infectious for the next human or animal that the mosquito may bite. Once you receive the parasite through the bite of the mosquito, it multiplies in the liver and become ready to infect the mosquito that bites you.

In this way, it is spreading. Malaria targets the red blood cells to spread throughout the body.

Malaria passed on at birth

This disease can be transmitted from an infected mother to her offspring before or during birth. This can result in miscarriage, stillbirth or can cause malaria in the newly-born infant. Known as congenital malaria, it occurs when mothers are unaware that they have been infected by malaria. Congenital malaria can be extremely confusing and painful to infants and may cause death.

Organ transplant

If an organ transplant takes place when the parasite is not fully active and goes unnoticed during tests, it is easily transmitted to the recipient of the transplant. This is rare but equally dangerous.

Blood transfusion

There are cases where an infected person donates blood and transmits the disease to a healthy person, either because they weren’t aware of the fever or the parasite was still in the incubation period. This can transmit dengue in mass numbers due to the infected red blood cells.

Shared use of infected needles and syringes

It is a common ethic in the medical world to not share needles and syringes. However, mishaps occur and infections spread. In some cases where the nurse or doctor gets the infection on getting stung by the needle accidentally.

It is important to note that malaria is not contagious. You cannot get the infection by touching or by being in the same room as a malaria patient.

The root cause of malaria is the same – the initial mosquito bite. To protect yourself from mosquito bites at home it is best to prevent mosquitoes from getting into your house. Maintain fly screens on windows, doors, vents and chimneys. Use insect sprays and repellents containing either picaridin or DEET, both inside and outside the house to kill mosquitoes.

What are the symptoms of Malaria? 

There is various form of symptoms in malaria patients, but each of the malaria patients may not have all the following symptoms.  

What is the treatment of Malaria? 

  • To treat malaria, doctors first prescribe blood tests and an X-ray to understand the symptoms.  There are three methods to examine malaria. The three methods are:
  1. Microscopic test
  2. Rapid immunity test
  3. Malaria RTS
  • The doctors suggest medicines like quinine, mefloquine and doxycycline to treat the positive report of malaria in a patient.

How to prevent Malaria?

  • If the fever is high and increasing, contact a doctor immediately. 
  • If malaria is detected and the temperature is not decreasing, the doctor must recommend another blood test. 
  • Keep the surroundings and neighbourhood clean so that there is no stagnant pool of water that serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. This will reduce the risk of malaria. 
  • Orange juice is beneficial for malaria patients. 
  • Use a wet towel to reduce the body temperature.  
  • Do not take medicines on your own. Consult a doctor for treatment. 
  • The patient must not take Chloroquine even after the blood tests.

Natural ways to repel mosquito bites

Camphor is a natural home remedy that is very effective in getting rid of mosquitoes around you. Its strong odour drives mosquitoes away.

Camphor

Lit camphor inside the closed room and wait for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes you will notice there are no mosquitos.

Garlic

Several properties in garlic help to keep mosquitoes away. To test this method out, you can crush a few cloves of garlic and then boil them in water.

Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds are easily available in every household and it is also one of the home remedies for getting rid of mosquitoes.

Stagnant water increases the number of mosquitoes around, so all you need to do is pour coffee grounds in the stagnant water around your environment.

Mosquito eggs will come up to the surface and die due to not having any oxygen.

Lavender oils

Mosquitoes can’t stand the scent of lavender oil so you can use this to your advantage. Keep mosquitoes away by spraying lavender oil around your home and surrounding areas. You can also put some on your body to avoid getting bit.

Mint

Mosquitoes also hate the smell of mint which can prevent mosquitoes around you. Take a fresh mint or mint oil and place it around your environment.

Peppermint oil or Cinnamon oil

Peppermint and cinnamon oils are a natural insecticides and mosquito repellent. You can mix this oil with other scents, like lemon, and rub them onto your skin for a minty scent to prevent mosquito bites. Diluting the peppermint oil with a carrier oil, like canola oil gives the best results.

How to protect babies and children

To protect your babies and children from mosquito bites dress your child in clothing that fully covers their arms and legs. Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.

If you are using insect repellent on your child, make sure to follow label instructions always. According to www.cdc.gov, do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.

Also, do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin. First, spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply it to a child’s face.

Wear fully covered clothes to protect yourself

Long-sleeved shirts and long pants can help you to get rid of mosquito bites. Also, keep your clothing as loose as possible. This serves two purposes: first, it’s much more comfortable. Second, mosquitoes can sometimes bite through clothing, especially if the fabric is thin.

Use permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.

Permethrin is an insecticide that kills or repels mosquitoes. One can use permethrin for treating clothes, as it provides protection after multiple washes.

Note: Do not use permethrin products directly on the skin.

Control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors

Indoor: One should use screens on windows and doors. If you see any holes in screens, repair them immediately to keep mosquitoes outdoors.

Outdoor: Mosquitos can breed in just 14 days so in order to stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water. Once a week, empty an old flower pot, a rain gutter and throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters or trash containers.

Prevent mosquito bites while sleeping

Use air conditioning or sleep under a mosquito bed net, if you are outside or in a room that does not have screens. The mosquito net has fine holes big enough to allow breezes to easily pass through but small enough to keep mosquitoes and other biting insects out. So better hang the netting over your bed, to have a good – good night’s sleep.

But just make sure that you sleep without touching the sides of the net- mosquitoes can actually bite you through the netting if it’s tight against your skin.

Use a fan

If you are prone to getting mosquito bites really often, then you should always be near to a fan, especially in the mosquito season. So if you’re sitting outside on a summer day, bring an electric fan with you to keep the mosquitoes away.

Use insect repellent

Use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, it is good even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

The EPA-registered insect repellents will help you to protect yourself against diseases spread by mosquitoes.

How to apply insect repellent

Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing. In case, if you are using sunscreen, then you should apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

How to get rid of mosquito bite itch

When a mosquito pricks your skin, it leaves behind saliva that is immediately identified as an invader. In response to the sting or bite, our bodies release histamines to signal the brain. In turn, lymphocytes rush to the infected area, expanding and multiplying, and consequently irritating all the nerves around them, resulting in an itch. Most mosquito bites stop itching and heal on their own in a few hours.

Apply a lotion

Don’t scratch because when you scratch, it creates openings in your skin that allow bacteria in and cause infection. Putting lotion or cream on the bite can help ease the itch.

Apply a cool compress

Try soothing the bite by applying a cold pack or a cool, moist cloth for a few minutes. Cold temperatures help in reducing inflammation. Do not place the ice directly in your skin, instead use an ice pack and gently put it on the affected area for 10-15 minutes.