Over the past few years, the momentum of research and efforts on malaria has tremendously increased. In many poor tropical and subtropical countries of the world, malaria continues to be one of the leading causes of illness and death. To avoid a decline in the efforts to prevent and treat this disease, World Malaria Day is celebrated every year on the 25th of April. In a bid to promote global efforts to understand and control malaria, WMD is one of eight official global public health campaigns upheld by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In terms of malaria, the statistics are shocking. Across the world, more than 3 billion people in 106 countries are currently at risk of malaria. In 2012 alone, malaria caused approximately 627,000 deaths. Through programs and initiatives taken around World Malaria Day, an estimated 112,235 children under 5 are alive today who would otherwise have died from the disease, and 41 million people have been educated on the prevention, detection and treatment for this deadly illness.
So what exactly is malaria? Malaria is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes. When a mosquito carrying malaria bites a human, the disease spreads from the insect’s saliva to the person’s blood. If malaria isn’t diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible after becoming infected, it can become fatal. The main signs and symptoms of malaria include headache, high temperature, fever, nausea, diarrhoea, aching muscles, fatigue, and a dry cough. Although these are the most common symptoms of malaria, not all of the above may appear. Sometimes you may only two or three of the most common symptoms, such as a headache, fever, and vomiting. Malaria is mainly found in tropical regions such as large areas of Africa and Asia, Central and South America, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Middle East and some Pacific Islands.
If you are diagnosed with malaria, it is important that you start taking your medicine immediately to avoid the disease from becoming fatal. As much as possible, stay indoors in well-screened areas, especially at night when mosquitoes are most active. Use mosquito nets and bed nets. It’s best to treat the nets with the insect repellents. Wear clothing that covers most of your body. Use an insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin. These repellents are applied directly to your skin, except around your mouth and eyes. If you choose a picaridin-based repellent, you will need to reapply it every several hours.
Travelers occasionally get malaria so it is strongly recommended that you take preventive medication when you travel to a region of the world that has malaria. The treatment may begin two weeks before your trip for the prevention of malaria. It may also continue for a month after you leave the area.
Treating malaria has become much simpler and easier with the discovery of effective medicines and undoubtedly medicines are the first option to treat the illness. The most widely used medicine for malaria is Chloroquine along with Quinine sulfate, Hydroxychloroquine, Mefloquine and a combination of atovaquone and proguanil. Just like any other disease, measures to prevent malaria can be taken by using simple home
remedies too. Although this might not be applicable in severe situations, they will definitely help in building up your immunity and resistance towards the disease.
One of the most effective home remedies for malaria is grapefruit. It should be consumed daily. The natural quinine-like substance can be extracted from the grapefruit by boiling a quarter of it and straining its pulp. Cinnamon is a valuable remedy for treating malaria. Take one teaspoon of powdered cinnamon and boil it in a glass of water with a pinch of pepper powder and a teaspoon of honey. Take this on a daily basis. Lime and lemon also play a vital role to reduce the quartan type of malarial fever. Take 4 to 5 drops of lime, add the juice of one lemon and dissolve it in one glass of water. This mixture needs to be consumed before the onset of fever.
Most importantly, you need to ensure that you maintain a clean and hygienic surrounding around you at all times. Keep yourself healthy by eating the right kind of foods and by keeping away from mosquitoes. The right kind of measures will keep you safe and away from the wrath of this terrible disease.