Malaria and dengue: health despoilers of summer

Most of northern India lies within the subtropical range, that means we have a humid subtropical climate. Including our own city, Delhi, the subtropical climate is ideal for mosquitoes to thrive. Mosquito-borne diseases like Malaria and Dengue are endemic in India.

In 1953, malaria killed around 8 lakh people nationwide. And it still poses a serious threat to people’s health. The government is running comprehensive programs to eliminate malaria and dengue. But it will not be eradicated completely unless we fight it individually. In this blog article, we are going to know what malaria and dengue really are and how we can put an end to them.

Malaria

What is malaria?

What is malaria?A Plasmodium, a parasite from the saliva of a mosquito, which causes malaria fever

Malaria is caused by a category of parasites called *plasmodium* which is found in the saliva of the infected female anopheles mosquito. Within 10-12 days after the mosquito bites you, the parasite gets to your liver and starts reproducing. There are five types of parasites that cause malaria in humans:

1. P. falciparum
2. P. malariae
3. P. ovale
4. P. vivax
5. P. knowlesi

P. falciparum and P. vivax are the most dangerous of these and cause most of the malaria deaths. WHO is working with governments to put an end to malaria.

What are the symptoms of malaria?

The most common symptoms that are associated with malaria fever are:

1. Severe fever
2. Fatigue
3. Vomiting
4. A headache that doesn’t seem to go away

Symptoms can vary and may take some time to be observable.

Malaria treatment

The treatment for malaria, as with several other infectious diseases depend upon many variables like:

  • Severity of the infection
  • Which parasite you are infected with
  • Age and health

Some of the drugs that may be assigned to you by physicians are:

1. Chloroquine
2. Mefloquine
3. Hydroxychloroquine
4. Quinine sulphate

Dengue

An endemic in more than 110 countries, this deadly disease is caused by the dengue virus. 10 crore people worldwide are infected by the dengue virus every year. And 300 crore people are at risk of dengue infection.

Characterized by skin rashes and severe pain in the head and muscles, dengue fever is a nightmare for people suffering from it. So what exactly is dengue?

What is dengue?

Technically, dengue is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. That means both malaria and dengue are caused by infected mosquitoes in the tropical areas of the world. Dengue is caused by a virus while malaria is caused by a parasite.

What is dengue

Seeing a cluster of dark dots near the center of this image. This is a dengue virus.
Also called breakbone fever, this viral infection is transmitted by Aedes genus of mosquitoes. There are five types of dengue viruses:

1. DENV-1
2. DENV-2
3. DENV-3
4. DENV-4
5. DENV-5

The last type is discovered recently.

What are the symptoms of dengue?

Dengue symptoms vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms are listed here:

1. Skin rashes
2. High fever
3. Severe pain in muscles
4. Nausea and vomiting
5. Diarrhea
6. Minor bleeding from nose

Dengue infection causes a life-threatening drop in platelets in your blood. This results in blood vessels being damaged and further worsening of the condition. Severe dengue infection if left untreated for a week or more, can show these serious symptoms:

1. Problems with liver, lungs, and heart
2. Bleeding under the skin and from the gums
3. Occasional bleeding from mouth and nose
4. Severe stomach pain

It’s very important to seek medical advice as soon as you start to see these symptoms.

Dengue treatment

Sadly, there’s no specific medication for dengue infection. Currently, dengue is treated with fluids and pain relievers. Physicians may assign you:

1. Acetaminophen
2. Supportive care in hospital
3. Transfusion to alleviate blood loss
4. Blood pressure monitoring
5. Electrolyte replacement

Best practices to keep yourself away from these deadly diseases

Here are some tips that will keep you away from malaria and dengue. Follow these to ensure your and your family’s health.

1. Use mosquito beds
2. Spray mosquito killers
3. Don’t let water stagnate near your residence
4. Seek medical help as soon as you observe malaria or dengue symptoms
5. Boost your immunity with more veggies and fruits in your diet, and regular exercising
6. Cover your skin while traveling to mosquito-laden areas

Your life is precious. So keep these things in mind and save yourself from malaria and dengue.

 

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