World Malaria Day is celebrated every year on the 25th of April to create awareness about the disease. The purpose of the day, like any other health awareness campaign, is to focus on the theme and this year’s theme is “End malaria for good”. According to WHO, India alone accounts for 58% of Malaria-related cases in South-East Asia of which 95% come from rural and 5% come from urban areas. It is a leading cause of death not only in India but worldwide. Malaria is caused due to mosquito bites. Therefore, it is important to be alert and take precautions. In India, the worst hit areas are – Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and the seven north-eastern states. If you travel to any of those affected areas make sure you take anti-malarial tablets one or two days before the journey. You can also take certain preventive measures like:
- Sleeping under a mosquito net– Sleeping under a mosquito net is the best way to keep mosquitoes and insects away. Make sure there are no mosquitoes inside after you have tucked the net under the mattress and wash it once every 10 days to get rid of the dust accumulated.
- Citronella Oil– This oil is extracted from lemongrass and is mostly used in beauty products. However, this is also as effective in warding off mosquitoes when applied on the body along with olive or coconut oil. Only a few drops are enough as it has a very strong fragrance.
- Cover your body– Mosquitoes are more likely to bite you when your skin is exposed. Wear full sleeves and longer pants to avoid bites.
- Use mosquito repellent creams and lotions– If you happen to wear clothes that expose certain parts of your body, make sure you apply mosquito repellent generously on those areas. Also, if you happen to apply sunscreen apply the repellent on top as the strong odour from the repellent would keep the mosquitoes at bay.
- Using sprays indoors– when at home use repellent sprays and vaporisers that are easily available in the market. These repellents are generally plug-in or you spray them in the room. To make this method more effective, make sure the doors and windows are closed.
After your journey, keep an eye out for the probable symptoms, some of the common symptoms of Malaria are:
- Muscle Pains
- Bloody stools
- Profuse sweating
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