How to Avoid Getting Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is caused by a single-celled parasite called Plasmodium. When malaria parasite enters human body it multiplies within red blood cells, causing symptoms such as fever, headache and might progress to coma in rare cases. You can avoid getting malaria by preventing bites from disease carrying mosquitoes, Anopheles.
- Vector control is primary public health intervention for reducing malaria transmission. If you are living in the areas of high transmission then this intervention must be conducted at community level or at least in the premises of home. Anopheles mosquito, transmitter of malaria breeds in standing water.
- Eliminating breeding grounds of mosquitoes is an effective and permanent way of avoiding spread of malaria.
- Empty the water from containers in and around your home. For instance, remove unused and old tyres buckets, drain the puddles and the swampy areas.
The first line of defense against malaria is the personal preventive measures against mosquitoes.
- Mosquitoes that cause malaria are active in the evening while some also bite in the day. Try to stay indoors during evening hours and dusk.
- Wear full sleeves shirts and long pants to minimise risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes.
- While stepping outdoor, use mosquito repellents that contain high percentage of N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide(DEET).
- If you are living in areas where there are mosquito breeding sites then sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets. World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mosquito nets for vector control. It is the most cost-effective method of preventing malaria.
- Another effective way of reducing malaria is Indoor residual spraying (IRS) with insecticides. Depending upon the kind of insecticide used the effectiveness of spray can last from 3 to 12 months.
- Antimalarial drugs can also be used to prevent malaria. Even though these drugs cannot prevent malarial infection but can surely put a check on disease by the parasites that have entered the blood. Drugs such as chemoprophylaxis suppress the blood stage of malaria infections and prevent malaria disease.
The vulnerable group such as children and pregnant women can be given "intermittent preventive treatment" (IPT) with antimalarial drugs.
Read more articles on Malaria.
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Mar 28, 2011
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