Malaria is an infectious disease; it can spread from person to person via mosquitoes. It can cause death. If you live or are visiting an area where malaria is said to be common, visit a doctor immediately if you have fevers, headache, feeling weak, muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is important you get the correct medicine quickly.
Pregnant women and children under five are most likely at risk of infection.
WHAT CAUSES MALARIA?
Malaria is actually caused by small parasitic protozoa, a very small, microscopic organism that needs another living being to survive. This malaria causing protozoa is called Plasmodium.
As Plasmodium needs another organism to survive, it uses both mosquitoes and humans. The Plasmodium can grow inside female Anopholes species mosquito. When the mosquito then takes blood from human beings the Plasmodium also enters the human blood. This causes disease, because the Plasmodium grows and damages the blood cells and liver.
HOW TO STOP MALARIA?
Malaria has been eradicated or completely wiped out in many countries. This is because simple steps have been followed carefully and strictly.
As malaria is spread by mosquitoes it is good to avoid mosquitoes, there are many ways to do this.
Bed nets: sleeping with a bed net above your bed, making sure it covers you from head to toe is the most effective method of malaria prevention. What is even better is a long lasting insecticide treating nets, which also kill the mosquitoes.
Clearing stagnant water: Mosquitoes lay eggs on still water, also known as stagnant water. So, removing stagnant water can help remove areas in which mosquitoes can grow.
Insect repellent spray: You can spray this directly onto your clothes and your skin. Sprays such as Diethyltoluamide (DEET) can be safely sprayed on pregnant women and even babies over 2 month. It stops mosquitoes coming near you.
Cool rooms: Mosquitoes like hot places, keeping your rooms and work area cool by having a fan or air conditioning will help. However, avoid opening the windows at night as this is an entry point for mosquitoes.
Prophylactic medication: This is medicine that is given even if you are not infected by Plasmodium. It can be given to all, but pregnant women and children will benefit greatly. Pregnant women can be given intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp). This can prevent deaths to babies carried by pregnant women and reduce the risk of malaria infection. There are some negative effects (side effects) of taking prophylactic medicine. Some medicines can cause headaches, or make the skin easier to burn in the sun. Taking medicine with food helps reduce some side effects. However, it is always best to speak to your doctor to ask what is suitable for you.
Remember all these interventions mentioned above are not 100 per cent effective. It is good to take as many precautions as possible to stop malarial infection.
There are many drugs available for malaria treatment. It can cure someone of malaria. It is important to know, even if you are cured of malaria, you can still be infected again. So, prevention is always important. The medicine your doctor gives you will depend on how severe the malaria infection is and where you live in the world.
– Malaria is a preventable disease.
– Plasmodium causes malaria; it is spread to humans via mosquitoes.
– Mosquitoes can be stopped by bed nets, clearing stagnant water and taking prophylactic medicine.
– Symptoms of malaria includes: fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhoea.
– It is important to continue prevention even after treatment.