Malaria is a leading cause of illness and death in Nigeria, which has the highest malaria burden in the world. In 2019, the country recorded over 61 million cases, an increase of 2.4 million compared to 2018 and 95,000 deaths attributable to malaria. Morbidity varies widely in terms of geography, gender and age, with pregnant women and young children particularly at risk and densely populated states accounting for 42 percent of the country’s malaria prevalence.
A fatal disease like malaria is a disease one should never take less seriously. A highly endemic disease that could be caused by four kinds of parasites that infect humans, exposing them to high fevers and flu-like illness; it could also be so severe that the parasites, have a huge potential to take its hosts to the point of death, especially to those who have low immunity to malaria- the women, children, people exposed to mosquito bites, and as well foreigners who travel from areas with no malaria.
So what can be done to stay malaria free? here are a few points that could be helpful:
Get early diagnosis and treatment. Although malaria can be dangerous and deadly, it’s also a highly treatable disease. While there’s not yet a vaccine to prevent contracting the disease, early treatment has proven to be very effective at containing and curing it. The success of your treatment depends on contacting your healthcare provider as soon as possible. The earlier the better
Take your prescribed medications completely. Your doctor has many options to choose from when deciding how to treat your malaria. He or she will choose a regimen for you based on what type of malaria parasite was found in your blood smear, your age, whether you’re pregnant, and the severity of your symptoms. Most malaria treatments are taken orally, but patients with complications might need IV medication. Like any living organism, the parasites that cause malaria can adapt to fight off medications, but the following drugs have a high success rate:
Stay comfortable during treatment. The best thing you can do is get plenty of rest during the recovery process. Because there are so many options for treating malaria, not everyone will have the same experience. However, common side effects include blurred vision, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain or upset. Some of the drugs also cause heartburn, insomnia, anxiety or mental clouding, and dizziness or coordination problems.
- Pay attention to your body to pick up on these side effects, and report them to your doctor when you experience them. They may be able to give you additional medications to help combat them.
- Drink lots of fluids to prevent heartburn.
- Fluids are especially important if you are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. You lose a lot of water through these side effects, and have to rehydrate yourself to keep your body as healthy as possible.
- Stick to a bland diet to treat stomach upset.
- Stay off your feet, and don’t over-exert yourself if you’re having coordination problems.
- Your doctor will monitor you for signs of dehydration, anemia, and seizures. She will watch for complications affecting your organs.
Wait for the fever to subside. Treatment for malaria is aggressive and fast-acting. If everything goes according to plan and you don’t suffer any complications, your fever should be gone within 36-48 hours. In most cases, the parasite that cause malaria will be completely out of your system within two to three days, and you will be recovered within two weeks.
Avoid further mosquito bites. If you live in a low-risk area, do not travel to high-risk areas while you are recovering from malaria. Additional mosquito bites may prove disastrous. If you live in an area where malaria is common, protect yourself as best as possible.
- Cover your skin with long pants and sleeves, even in hot weather.
- Wear mosquito repellent at all times.
- Light mosquito-repellent candles to keep mosquitos out of your area.
- Stay in screened-in, air-conditioned areas where mosquitos are less likely to be.
- Use bed nets when sleeping in areas infested with mosquitoes.
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