Monsoon is upon us! By the end of June, it will have arrived in all parts of India. Its arrival is indeed a cause for celebration because it brings respite from the blistering heat of summer. But there is a flip side to monsoon as well. It is the season of vector-borne diseases. And one of the commonest and most feared diseases is malaria.
According to the World Malaria Report, 2018, 94% of India’s population lives under the threat of malaria. Close to 8 million people are diagnosed with it every year- India reels under one of the highest malaria burden rates of the world.
The Indian government has promised to eradicate malaria by 2030. But every citizen needs to do her/his part to make India malaria free.
Here’s What You Should Know About Malaria –
At the root of malaria is a parasite called plasmodia. It enters human beings through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. It is not contagious.
Malaria breaks out in warm, muggy, and wet climates- the kind that prevails in India during the monsoon season. The more temperate or drier regions of India like the desert or mountainous regions are relatively safe from malaria.
Don’t undermine malaria. It is a life-threatening disease. And certainly, don’t surrender your fate to the hands of your local municipality whose job it is to curb malaria. Their efforts are often slipshod. Your safety is to a large extent in your own hands. Here are a few measures you can adopt to protect your loved ones, and yourself from the grasp of this horrific disease.
Don’t let those pesky mosquitoes be born –
A mosquito’s tiny little bite can be the kiss of death. Its population has to be nipped in the bud. Female mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnated and still water. In your neighbourhood, there will possibly be plenty of places where rainwater accumulates. It could be a pothole, a garbage dump, a construction site or a field studded with depressions. Rainwater may also collect at the base of your potted plants. These are prime breeding spots for mosquitoes. And any number of them could be the Anopheles variety- the carrier of malaria.
So, don’t let water pool in these spots. Some more steps that you can take are –
- Water your plants but make sure the excess drains away.
- Before the onset of monsoon, petition your municipal office to repair the roads and streets and level out the potholes.
- Demand for more effective garbage disposal.
- If you leave out water for stray dogs and cats or birds, be sure to toss out yesterday’s water and refill the container every day.
- Cover all containers that hold water.
- If you have a window AC installed, place a bucket underneath it to collect the water, and throw it away at regular intervals.
Personal Safety –
Anopheles mosquitoes usually bite at night. So adopt the following measures –
- Erect a mosquito net or use a mosquito repelling spray.
- If you go out after sunset, don’t forget to smear mosquito repellent cream on to your exposed skin.
- Try wearing long sleeves.
- If you are a parent, then the onus is on you to ensure that your children’s school is taking the necessary steps to clamp down on vector-borne monsoon diseases like not just malaria but dengue as well.
If you or someone you know has contracted a fever that hasn’t subsided in 3 days, its time to consult a doctor who will in all likelihood prescribe a blood test. Do not drag your feet. Delaying treatment can be fatal.
Wage a determined war against malaria. A few simple steps and awareness on your part can save lives.