Malaria resembling Covid-19
Umiar Shafiq Khanday
In 2019, 88% of all malaria cases in the WHO South East Asia Region were in India. Every year April 25th is observed as World Malaria Day. Here we tell you what you need to know to keep your loved ones and yourself safe from malaria.
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a serious disease caused by parasites called Plasmodium that spread to people when they’re bitten by infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. There are 5 different species of malaria parasites of which P. falciparum and P. vivax are most prevalent. In 2018, 50% of cases in the WHO South-East Asia Region were due to P. falciparum** which causes the most severe form of malaria.
While some people may not develop any symptom up to a year, most people develop them within 7 days of being bitten.
Symptoms may include:
1. Fever (a high temperature of 38°C/100.4°F or above) with chills, followed by intense sweating
2. Muscle, joint and body pain (especially back and abdomen)
6. In cases where the brain is involved, seizures can also occur.
Some of these symptoms are similar to COVID-19 symptoms. Don’t confuse and reach out to an expert immediately who will guide you on what might be causing your symptoms.
Who is at risk of getting malaria?
Everyone. In 2019, almost half of the world’s population was at risk. However, some people are at higher risk of getting severe malaria, such as:
• Infants and children under 5 years of age
• Pregnant women
• Elderly people
• People with compromised immune systems.
1. Slather up mosquito repellents.
2. Use insecticide-treated mosquito net or spraying insecticides: Placing insecticide-treated nets on your beds while sleeping can save you from mosquito bites. Do make sure that there are no holes in the nets. Also, treat your house with insecticides once or twice a year to prevent breeding of mosquitoes.
3. Protect windows with nets
Cover your doors and windows with mosquito mesh to stop mosquitoes from entering your home. Keep your doors and windows closed during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
4. Cover yourself with clothing: Instead of wearing shorts and half-sleeved shirts, wear full length, loose-fitting pants and full-sleeve shirts.
5. Look out for water pits
Remove water that stagnates in spots such as AC trays, room coolers, potted plants, flower vases, water containers or tanks, and clogged drains. Ensure to clean dark corners/rooms, behind the curtains, and dust bins as all these can be breeding Grounds for mosquitoes.
Ignoring malaria symptoms can prove fatal. If not diagnosed and treated on time, it can worsen rapidly, and cause complications such as severe anemia, spleen enlargement, or failure of liver and kidneys.
In malaria, the same pattern of symptoms – chills, fever, sweating – usually repeats every 2 or 3 days, depending on which malaria parasite has caused the infection
Malaria is preventable and treatable. Don’t ignore the symptoms and make sure to get diagnosed on time..
(The author is pursuing Nursing at Udaipur in Rajasthan)