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Everything you Need to Know About Malaria

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A five-year National Strategic Plan was introduced by India in 2017 to eliminate malaria. This plan resulted in a significant fall in the number of such incidences. In 2017 itself, India recorded 3 million fewer cases of the mosquito-borne diseases compared to the previous year.

In 2017, the number of malaria incidences around the globe was a whopping 219 million across 87 countries.

Even with the plan in motion, India still accounts for almost 4% of all malaria cases around the world. Malaria is primarily caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. Malaria is a common form of mosquito-borne diseases and is largely seen in tropical and subtropical areas or regions of the world.

What are the symptoms of malaria?

The Plasmodium parasite is spread by females of the mosquito genus, Anopheles. These mosquitos thrive during monsoon seasons when there is an abundance of water-logged and damp areas.

In total, there are 5 Plasmodium species that can affect human beings. In most cases, it takes weeks before any malaria symptoms are exhibited by the infected individual. In some cases, symptoms show up as much as a year later.

Female Anopheles mosquito carries the parasite and transmits it into your blood through its saliva. From there, the parasite finds its way to your liver where it thrives and reproduces.

Individuals infected with the vector-borne disease usually have episodes of malaria attacks or paroxysm. These episodes constitute feeling chilly, having a high fever, extensive sweating, and then back to normal temperature.

Other malaria symptoms are listed below:

  1. Fever.
  2. Severe headache.
  3. Shivering or feeling chilly.
  4. Pain in muscles and joints,
  5. Vomiting.
  6. Nausea.
  7. Fatigue.
  8. Intense coughing.
  9. Sweating.
  10. Pain in the abdominal or chest region.
  11. Jaundice.
  12. Damage in the retina.
  13. Urine with haemoglobin.
  14.  Convulsion or epilepsy.

In case you notice any signs of malaria based on the symptoms mentioned above, immediately consult a doctor and have your blood diagnosed for malaria.

One of the most severe forms of malaria is called falciparum or cerebral malaria. It is caused by the falciparum species of Plasmodium. Its treatment can involve substantial costs and may require hospitalisation. You can avail financial coverage for expenses incurred during treatment of malaria through Pocket Insurance and Subscriptions like Monsoon Cover insurance policy provided by Bajaj Finserv. 

 The symptoms for cerebral malaria include:

  1. The posturing of the body in abnormal manners.
  2. Conjugate gaze palsy or the inability to turn both eyes simultaneously in the same direction.
  3. Seizures.
  4. Coma.

Other extreme complications which you might witness in a malaria-infected individual are –

  1. Pulmonary oedema or excessive accumulation of fluid in the lungs which results in breathing difficulty.
  2. Kidney or liver failure.
  3. Spleen rupture.
  4. Fall in blood sugar, which can lead to coma or death.

How is malaria transmitted other than a mosquito bite?

As malaria is carried through the blood vessels into the liver, it can be transmitted through other means as well, which are –

  1. Infected blood transfusions.
  2. Contaminated needles, which are used to inject drugs.
  3. From mother to child in the womb. 

How to prevent malaria?

Here are some preventive measures of malaria –

  1. Try to cover your skin as much as possible when going out. Wear full-sleeved t-shirts and full pants. 
  2. Use mosquito nets while sleeping.
  3. Use mosquito repellent.
  4. Notify the authorities about water-logged areas in your neighbourhood.
  5. Keep areas from storing water by regularly cleaning your surroundings.
  6. Use citronella candles which help to keep mosquitos at bay.
  7. Insist for packaged needles in clinics.

These are the preventive measures of malaria which you need to adopt in your lifestyle, especially during the monsoon season.

In most cases, malaria can be treated using anti-malarial tablets. You can consult your doctor regarding this as it requires an assessment of your age, medical history, and other medications you are on.

In extreme cases, hospitalisation is a must. You can cover your hospitalisation expenses through Pocket Insurance and Subscriptions such as a hospital cash cover for substantial financial coverage.

In case, malaria is left untreated for a long period; it can escalate to exhibit fatal complications. It is largely witnessed in pregnant women and children.

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