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Insurance Article

Monsoon and Malaria: A Deadly Combination

June 20 2017
Malaria Anopheles Mosquito

Monsoon is upon us and so is Malaria

Monsoon brings respite for all of us from the tormenting heat. Heavy rains cool the air, bringing cheer to most of us. The rains not only bring the cool air but also water in every nook and cranny of the city. This water collects in small puddles, used tires, domestic containers and roadside drains forming ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes spread Malaria and other diseases that witness a steep rise during the rainy season. Malaria is spread by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito that carries the Plasmodium parasite. The bite releases the parasite into the bloodstream, which then travels to the liver. After maturing there, it re-enters the bloodstream and starts infecting the red blood cells.

Startling Malaria Statistics

India has the dubious distinction of being the country with the 3rd highest number of malaria cases in the world. According to the World Malaria Report 2015, the South-East Asia Region (SEAR) makes up for 10% of the total malaria cases in the world; India is responsible for 70% of these cases, thereby highlighting the magnitude of the problem.

Steps have been taken though and the results are visible. Over the years, malaria cases in India have reduced from 2 million cases in 2000 to 1.1 million cases in 2015. The government of India has come out with the ‘National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) in India 2016-2030’. This plan aims to eliminate malaria in the country by the year 2030.

Symptoms of Malaria

Symptoms of malaria begin to manifest themselves usually within 10 days to four weeks after the bite. There are forms of malaria which can remain dormant inside the body for years, but the most common type of malaria parasite called ‘Plasmodium Falciparum’ starts showing symptoms within 10 days to 4 weeks.

These symptoms are varied in nature and can consist of high fever, shaking chills, anaemia, profuse sweating, nausea, headache, coma, vomiting, muscle pain, diarrhoea, bloody stools, and convulsions.

How to Prevent Malaria

There are several ways to prevent malaria, of which some of the major ones are:

  • Protective Clothing: Wear protective clothing and ensure that you are fully covered. Long sleeved shirts and pants are recommended during monsoon as they not only provide warmth but also keep mosquito bites away.

  • Maintain Hygienic Surroundings: Ensure that there are no small puddles of water or open garbage anywhere close to your house. Mosquitoes breed quite fast in clean, still water which is plentiful during the rains. Regularly check your surroundings for things that can hold water after the rains and dispose them off.

  • Use Nets and Mosquito Repellents: Always sleep with a net around the bed. It is the best way to keep mosquitoes away and also get a good night’s sleep. Use mosquito repellents liberally after sunset. Repellents with large dose of DEET are usually more effective at keeping those gnats away.

  • Stay Indoors: It is advisable to stay indoors and away from places that have a high density of mosquitoes. If you can afford it, air-conditioned rooms are the best bet against mosquitoes. Malaria-causing mosquitoes usually come out in the night and that’s when the nets mentioned previously are highly effective.

With a few easy steps, a life-threatening disease like malaria can be easily prevented. While you take enough precautions at your end, a good health insurance plan can provide you with the financial assistance you need in future for treatment of Malaria.

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