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Healthy Tips on Malaria,Dengue & Chikungunya
Information about diseases like Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya
We all have been enjoying the rains, getting wet on the streets, eating hot bhajias or even hot golden corn. Little did we expect that we would be under the huge malarial attack with that tiny sized insect – the Mosquito!! The onset of monsoon along with the warm Indian climate brings with it a rise in monsoon-related ailments such as dengue and malaria.
FACING THE MOSQUITO MALAISE
Malaria mostly affects people with weak immune system. The name "mal 'aria" meaning "bad air" in Italian) is caused by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito which may inject the malarial parasites into our blood stream while sucking blood for its food. Once in the blood, the parasites travel to the liver and enter liver cells to grow and multiply. During this "incubation period", the infected person has no symptoms. After as few as 8 days or as long as several months, the parasites leave the liver cells and enter red blood cells where they continue to grow and multiply. Toxins released when the red cells burst are what cause the typical fever, chills, and flu-like malaria symptoms.
People at Risk:
-People living in areas where Malaria is on a break out.
-Areas surrounded by water bodies – namely sea, lakes, small accumulation of water puddles etc, where mosquitoes tend to breed.
-Pregnant women living in mosquito infected areas.
-Small kids and those with low immunity power.
-People travelling frequently either from malaria transmitted areas to other areas or vice-versa.
-It can also be transmitted through blood transfusions.
Did you notice symptoms appearing in 3 stages -
1. Cold stage
2. Hot stage
3. Sweating stage
And when you visited the doctor, he indicated you about one of the Mosquito Malaise – Malaria!! Well, symptoms usually appear within 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. Attacks can occur for years if malaria is not diagnosed and treated. Eventually, the body's immune system may develop a defense against malaria attacks, and they may become less severe in some people. However, treatment is needed to cure most forms of malaria.
People with malaria have the following symptoms:
-Chills and Sweating
-Diarrhoea, Nausea, and Vomiting (at times)
-Low Blood Pressure causing dizziness
In many cases, malaria is seen to cause anaemia and jaundice (yellow colouring of the skin and eyes) because of the loss of red blood cells. This usually occurs due to the destruction of red blood cells by the parasites. The remains of the destroyed red blood cells clump together and cause blockages in the blood vessels. This can result in brain damage or kidney damage, which can be fatal.
In people infected with Plasmodium Falciparum, the following symptoms may also occur and if not promptly treated, may turn fatal causing death:
-Extreme tiredness, delirium, unconsciousness, convulsions, and coma
-Pulmonary oedema - a serious condition where fluid builds up in the lungs, which can lead to severe breathing
Infection with one type of malaria - P. falciparum, Malaria can be diagnosed easily with a simple blood test where the parasites are seen, but sometimes repeated tests may have to be performed. There are very good drugs for malaria but a proper course must be completed; otherwise it may become chronic with repeated bouts of fever.
General diet guidelines for treatment during Malaria:
Diet is of utmost importance in the treatment of malaria: The diet can be incorporated in 3 phases -
-Fast on orange juice and water: To begin with, you should stay on orange juice and water for a few days, depending on the severity of the fever. This can help improve the immunity and help in subsiding the malarial attack.
-Fresh-fruit diet: Once the fever has subsided, try to stick to an exclusive fresh-fruit diet for the first few days including of orange, grapes, grapefruit, apple, pineapple, mango and papaya. Milk may then be added to the diet gradually.
-Well-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and raw vegetables: Thereafter, gradually move to a well-balanced diet of natural foods, consisting of seeds, nuts and grains, with emphasis on fresh fruits, and raw vegetables. Also include lots of water or thin fluids throughout the day to flush out the toxins. In fact a glass of lukewarm water mixed with half a freshly squeezed lime and a teaspoon of honey must be taken daily as a routine. One should avoid strong tea, coffee, refined and processed foods, fried foods, condiments, sauces, pickles, white sugar,white flour, and all products made from them. He should also avoid all non-vegetarian foods, alcoholic drinks and smoking.
-Cold pack application to the whole body: This pack is made by wringing out a sheet in cold water and wrapping it round the body. This pack should be applied every three hours during the day while the temperature is high and kept on for an hour or so.
-Prevent mosquito bites, cleanliness of surrounding areas: Malaria can be prevented by protection against mosquito bites, cleanliness of surrounding areas, and ensuring that there is no pool of stagnant water lying around. In fact you can spray a layer of kerosene on all water bodies near the house–including ponds to prevent mosquito larvae from breeding.
DENGUE AND CHIKUNGUNYA
Dengue and Chikungunya are both caused by the bite of Aedes Egyptii Mosquito that breeds only in clean fresh water.The mosquito flourishes during rainy seasons but can breed in water-filled flower pots, plastic bags, and cans yearround.One mosquito bite can inflict the disease.We are lucky that the virus is not contagious and cannot spread directly from person to person. There must be a personto-mosquito-to-another-person pathway. Dengue is diagnosed by a special blood test that takes a day.
Symptoms of Dengue:
Dengue fever is an acute illness with sudden onset of symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen glands and rash. The presence of fever, rash, and headache (and other pains) is particularly characteristic of dengue. Victims of dengue often have contortions due to the intense joint and muscle pain, hence the name "break-bone fever". After being bitten by the specific mosquito, the signs and symptoms of dengue appear within 3 to 15 days. Dengue begins with chills, headache, pain upon moving the eyes, and lower backache. Painful aching in the legs and joints occurs during the first hours of illness. You will notice that the body temperature rises quickly as high as 104 F but the heart rate and blood pressure lower further.The eyes become reddened and a pale pink rash comes over the face and then disappears.Fever and other signs of dengue last for two to four days, followed by a rapid drop in body temperature with profuse
sweating. This precedes a period with normal temperature and a sense of well-being that lasts about a day. A second rapid rise in temperature follows. A characteristic rash appears along with the fever and spreads from the extremities to cover the entire body except the face. The palms and soles may be bright red and swollen.
Cure for Dengue Fever:
-Prevention is the best—so, please ensure that any stored fresh water is changed frequently, especially in pots, vases, water jars, garden pots and old tyres.
-It is Rest time – It is important to take enough rest to help your body rejuvenate from the infection and yes, adequate hydration
is equally important.
-Treatment is symptomatic only - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should only be taken under a doctor's supervision because of the possibility of worsening hemorrhagic complications.
Chikungunya is similar to Dengue since it is caused by the bite of the same mosquito. The symptoms are also similar,although body ache is not that severe. In some people, there can be persistent involvement of the joints or even a mild form of paralysis after an attack of Chikungunya.
The first step in handling Mosquito malaise is prevention. You and your family can prevent malaria / dengue by a few simple precautionary steps:
-Try to keep mosquitoes from biting you, especially at night – so close your doors and windows at dusk. You can also
have net screens to cover windows and doors.
-Wearing long-sleeved clothing if out of doors after sunset.
-Maintaining hygiene around your house and eliminating places around your home where mosquitoes breed.
-Mosquito nets help keep mosquitoes away from people and greatly reduce the transmission of mosquito related diseases. Mosquito nets are often an affordable medium and hence can help reduce the chances of a mosquito
-Indoor residual spraying (IRS) is the practice of spraying insecticides on the walls of homes in malaria affected areas. So if the walls have been coated with insecticides, the resting mosquitoes will be killed before they can bite another person, transferring the malaria parasite. Surprisingly mosquitoes have developed a resistance against these with
-Intake of Anti-malarial / dengue drugs – but this can be done only under the doctor's prescription.
-Spread the word, not the disease: Recognizing the disease in the early stages and educating your neighbours about it can also help stop the disease from becoming a killer.
So it is time to gear up your Mosquito nets, prepare to carry boiled water from home or maybe even carry some stuff to eat while you are out during this season, as we are sure you wouldn't want to risk your health at the antennae of that little mosquito and face the mosquito malaise! After all, size does matter when it comes to spreading malaria!
Tip to reduce Malaria Infection:-
Consuming juice of 12-15 Tulsi (Basil) leaves with 1 Tbsp. black pepper powder helps to reduce the severity of the Malarial infection.
Tip to cure Malaria:
In a glass of water, add a tsp of cinnamon powder, a tsp of honey and a dash of pepper powder. Boil this concoction and have it after it cools down a bit.
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