My sister Danny got a call recently about her course mate who passed away; I was totally petrified when I learnt she was killed by Malaria. The first thing I said was ‘so malaria still kills people in this 21st century’. Very sad but true. Malaria kills and it’s still killing; recently another student in Unizik was also killed by malaria. An estimate of one fifty thousand people die every year in Nigeria because of malaria and almost six hundred thousand people die in Africa yearly. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 3.2 billion people are at risk of malaria. Malaria can also cause a number of life-threatening complications like swelling of the blood vessels of the brain, or cerebral malaria, an accumulation of fluid in the lungs that causes breathing problems, or pulmonary edema, organ failure of the kidneys, liver, or spleen, anemia due to the destruction of red blood cells, low blood sugar. Malaria infection during pregnancy is a problem with substantial risks for the pregnant woman, her fetus, and the newborn child. Malaria-associated maternal illness and low birth weight is mostly the result of Plasmodium falciparum infection and occurs predominantly in Africa.
Whenever I’m diagnosed with malaria, I tell the doctor “is it not just malaria?”, “it will go by itself”. Until the day I was taught by the parasite that malaria “is not just malaria”. I treated the malaria for close to a month. I was so restless and unproductive. It was a painful and life threatening experience. Most of us know malaria disease is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. The symptoms of malaria typically develop within 10 days to four weeks following the infection. In some people, symptoms may not develop for several months. Some malarial parasites can enter the body but will be dormant for long periods of time. Common symptoms of malaria include: shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe, high fever, profuse sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, muscle pain, convulsions, coma, and bloody stools.
This post is focused on preventive measures we can take to deal with malaria disease. The first step is bite prevention; Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. The control of mosquito population is the best way to reduce malaria disease and this done by eliminating the places where mosquitoes breed. Standing water provides the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Please follow these steps to help control the mosquito population:
Get rid of dirty water and Cover all water storage containers.
Put away water-holding containers such as tires, buckets, flowerpots, toys, etc.
Clean and clear clogged gutters around your house and Fill in hollow stumps that hold water with sand or concrete.
Wash all dirty plates before sleeping and keep your environment clean; Keep grass and shrubs around your home trimmed well
Properly care for any water pools, use treated water and frequently change water if the water does not flow on a regular basis.
Turn over canoes, small boats and wheelbarrows stored outside or cover them with a tarp. Make sure the tarp doesn’t sag and allow water to collect on top of it.
Repair leaks on faucets or air conditioning units.
Ensure adequate drainage of sump pump discharge. Drain or fill in low areas in your yard; clean drains, ditches, and culverts to ensure proper drainage.
Mosquito bite can be prevented with the use of Insecticide-treated mosquito nets and Indoor spraying with residual insecticides. Use insect repellent on your skin and in sleeping environments and remember to reapply it frequently.
Awareness of risk, Antimalarial tablets
There’s currently no vaccine available that offers protection against malaria, so it’s very important to take antimalarial medication to reduce your chances of getting the diseas
The current WHO-recommended first-line treatment for the majority of malaria cases is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). These medicines, in addition to diagnostics, are available to treat and in some cases prevent malaria.
Fast acting artemisinin-based compounds are combined with a drug from a different class. Companion drugs include lumefantrine, mefloquine, amodiaquine, sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine, piperaquine and chlorproguanil/dapsone. Artemisinin derivatives include dihydroartemisinin, artesunate and artemether. Artemeter-Lumefantrine comes as ARTEMEF for e.g in generic name.
Don’t take any signs for granted, Get immediate medical advice