If we could all choose, we’d largely prefer to be robbed of our belongings quietly and realise it later than be robbed amidst a lot of threats and battery. The effects of an armed burglary goes beyond just the lost items and their monetary value; it leaves the victim in fear and paranoia, some lose their sleep, suffer panic attacks and stress disorder even when their oppressors are long gone. It is even worse when the robbers disturb your sleep, cart away your belongings and then do an extra of destroying your abode and probably peeing all around the house!
I find mosquitoes to be in this category, the ones that eventually lead to malaria, that is. Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasite which can be a tenant in the body of a female anopheles mosquito which can bite a human and transfer the tenant without consent.
The infection with malaria usually happens when a human is bitten by a female anopheles that has the plasmodium. These mosquitoes feed on blood (human) and use it to procreate. As a means of paying back for the blood they have taken from you, they’ll release some fluid into you, this will usually contain plasmodium if the mosquito carries. It takes the plasmodium 2 weeks to complete its cycle into an adult and infective form in the human host.
The most annoying part of this invasion is probably the manner in which they make an entrance; you must be familiar with the humming and irritating sounds around your ears when a mosquito is in the area. I always wonder, “can’t these animals just suck blood and go away”? They seem to find humour in your struggle as they feast.
The most affected groups of people by malaria are extremes of life (children, the aged), foreigners (those not living in the tropics), and pregnant women. These groups of people must be well taken care of with urgency and caution as they are more likely to suffer more from this infection. Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in these category of people.
I have come across quite a number of my patients who complain they just treated malaria recently and are beginning to feel the same symptoms again. Some insinuate that the previous doctor probably didn’t treat them well – this is hardly the case. First, you must understand that you can come down with malaria symptoms for any of the following reasons:
Dosage errors: incomplete or low dose.
It only takes two weeks or less for you to become symptomatic and the drugs are not vaccines that are once and for all, you can always get Malaria again and again.
Certain strains of plasmodium causing malaria can be difficult to treat with the very common drugs available.
PREVENTION AND CONTROL
It is always cheaper and easier to prevent disease or illness than to try to cure it. So how can the burden of malaria be reduced to the barest minimum?
Unfortunately, I cannot promise you that mosquitoes will go extinct, but there are a few measures to chase them far away from you. Let’s dig into those:
Mosquitoes love the warm and dark places of this world. It’s why they are in our Africa and hardly found in places that are usually cold, low temperature regions. You’ll usually find them hiding in your wardrobe between clothes and in cartons and every available crevice. Keep your clothes folded if possible or neatly hanged. Let every portion of your room be exposed to light as much as is possible. If there’s a corner with a pile of stuff, you might want to reconsider. You can also mimic a low temperature by using an air conditioner to keep your room cold, if you have one.
Screen your doors and windows with nets; don’t leave doors open.
Employ the use of insect repellents either as creams on your body or as aerosols to be sprayed. Make sure such repellents are safe and non-irritating to you. If you or anyone around you is asthmatic or very sensitive, this may be a bad idea.
Long Lasting insecticide nets (or Insecticide treated nets) are also very helpful. You can mount one in your sleeping area to keep them away while you sleep. Even if you don’t use this, make sure it is used by a pregnant woman or a child under 5 years. There are guides to using such nets, they must be washed before first use and spread to dry in the open, say under a tree to prevent skin reactions from the chemicals used on the net.
Mosquitoes have a very short half-life and last less than a month assuming you don’t clap them to death in their first flight. In what I will call a compensation by nature, they reproduce fast. And need water to lay eggs and develop into adults. Stagnant unattended water bodies are a very good environment for mosquitoes to multiply fast. I’ll tell you the common places in and around the home. Uncovered buckets that are rarely used, empty cans lying around, uncovered tanks and drums, tyres, gutters, pools of water on the ground. All these can easily be done away with. Pay particular attention to gutters and make sure they are through for water to flow through them, unclog them if possible.
Keep the grass and bushes around your house very low, this is another hideout for these insects of horror.
Stay immune and feed well, you are more likely to be easily overcome by the illness if you are immunocompromised, stressed or feeding poorly.
If after all of these measures you still come down with malaria, do see a health care provider and use the medications as prescribed, completely even if you feel better after the initial dose.