World Malaria Day 2018 : Protect Your Baby From Mosquitoes
Created by Janaki Srinivasan Updated on Apr 25, 2018
Across the world, 25th April is celebrated as World Malaria Day. This year’s theme is, ‘Ready to Beat Malaria’ as World Health Organization (WHO) gears up along with its partner organizations to tackle one of the oldest diseases known to mankind. Efforts are on for greater investment and expanded coverage of tools that help diagnose, treat and prevent malaria. Malaria is caused by mosquitoes and monsoon is the time when the possibility of contracting malaria is on the higher side. Children, particularly those under 5 are more vulnerable and hence extra care must be taken to prevent breeding of mosquitoes at home and in the neighborhood.
How Is Malaria Caused?As already mentioned, Malaria is caused by the bite of a mosquito, the female anopheles variety. They normally tend to bite at night and a single bite is enough to infect your little one. No matter how much you try, mosquitoes breed extensively during the rainy season in and around your neighborhood and it becomes virtually impossible to mosquito-proof your house. According to the report by WHO, about 216 million cases of malaria were reported worldwide in 2016. And this data is really worrisome. Let’s look at some steps we can take to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and thus preventing malaria.
How To Protect Children From Malaria?Here are some simple steps to follow to keep your child safe.
Choose the Right Clothes:This is the first and the most important step to protect your baby from mosquitoes. Though it may seem difficult, but keep your child covered, especially when they are going outside, in a way that minimizes the area of exposed skin. However, remember to choose clothes that are light that allows air to pass through otherwise it may cause discomfort to the baby. Clothes should be loose and it is best to avoid skirts, shorts and sleeveless dresses during the mosquito breeding season. Another point to remember is to use light colored clothes. It is believed that mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors
Close Doors and Windows:Towards evening it is best to keep the doors and windows in your homes closed. You can use a mesh to allow air to pass through and avoid suffocation and prevent the entry of mosquitoes at the same time
Remove Stagnant Water Around the House:Remember to do away with all the excess water, whether it is water accumulated outside or buckets filled inside. Make sure to cover your buckets and water tanks, if you must store water. Also remember to drain out the water from pots and dishes soon. Dirty, stagnant water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. A few drops of kerosene oil in open drains forms a thin film and prevents mosquitoes from penetrating
Use Repellents:Despite keeping the house clean and free of excess water, remember to apply a chemical-free repellant to your child. You can use coils, liquids, cards while at home and sprays and creams while going outside. Some scents such as citronella, lemon grass, neem, lavender and eucalyptus are known to keep mosquitoes away. You can use these
- Cover your baby’s cot with mosquito nets
- Plant chrysanthemum or citronella near your baby’s room to keep mosquitoes away
- Try to step out during the day and avoid late evenings. Stay away from bushes, pools and gutters
- Try to use scent free lotions and creams for your baby; mosquitoes get attracted to some kinds of scents and smells
Symptoms Of Malaria In Babies:The symptoms of malaria usually start showing approximately between 10 days to 4 weeks after contracting the infection. Some of the glaring and common symptoms include:
- Moderate to high fever
- Chills and shivering
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain, nausea and vomiting
- Losing temperature (Hypothermia)
If you notice any or all of these symptoms, remember to consult your doctor immediately. Though malaria is treatable but if left unattended, it could be fatal. Your doctor will check the blood samples to confirm malaria and start treatment immediately.
Treatment For Malaria:Apart from the medicines that your doctor prescribes, you need to do the following:
- Make your child rest
- A healthy nutritious diet is very important for cure
- Sponge regularly to gradually bring down the high temperature. Your doctor will show you how to go about it
- Give medicines as instructed by the doctor
- Admit to a hospital in case of sudden convulsions, fits or dehydration
Many parents believe in natural remedies to keep mosquitoes away such as cloves stuck in lemon. There is no confirmation as to how effective this is. It is important to understand that by following some simple steps to keep your house and surroundings clean, you can prevent the entry of mosquitoes to a large extent and thus keep your child safe from malaria. Stay safe and healthy!
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