To protect yourself and your family, it is important to protect yourself from getting bitten by female anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes
Malaria is transmitted by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito. Dengue is transmitted by the bite Aedes mosquito. To protect yourself and your family, it is important to protect yourself from getting bitten by these mosquitoes.
1) Understand: Dengue is caused by a virus and transmitted by the bite indoors as well as outdoors.
2) Find: Find the breeding grounds of mosquito larvae in your house and surrounding. This mosquito prefers to lay eggs in clean stagnant water. The breeding places for this mosquito can be found in clean water containers, open storage tanks, plant and flower pots and vases, discarded bottles and cups, tyres or any other object like coconut shells where water can get accumulated.
3) Destroy: Once you identify destroy these breeding places by throwing away appropriately these objects where water can get accumulated. Scrub and clean the buckets and other containers like vases and pots and change the water in them at least every week. Cover the water containers and utensils with a lid to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Make sure there is no waste clogging the drains and water is free flowing.
4) Prevent the bite
• Use long sleeves clothes, mosquito repellants
• Use mosquito nets and close window screens to prevent the entry of mosquitoes in the house.
• Also co-operate with health authorities in implementing mosquito control measures in your surroundings.
• These small acts of preventive measures can help fight the big bite. Your health is in your hands.
• In case you get dengue or malaria infection, it is important to understand the disease and its complications.
• Both of these are febrile illnesses
Malaria is caused by a parasite named plasmodium. Vivax and falciparum are two of the common species found in our city. It is classically associated with chills and rigours along with fever which is followed by sweating. It can have complications like liver, kidney and lung involvement.
Dengue is caused by the dengue virus. There are three phases of illness in dengue:
1) The febrile phase: It is characterised by abrupt onset of high grade fever which is continuous associated with body ache, headache, pain behind the eyes and fatigue. This phase lasts from one to five days and most patient recover completely.
2) The critical phase: Once the fever subsides some of the patients may land up in critical phase where this is capillary leakage and other complications.
This usually is 24 to 72 hours after resolution of fever. There are certain warning signs which point towards patient developing severe disease like pain in abdomen, vomitting, any bleeding from any site, petechia spots over body, breathlessness.
In this phase, there is fluid from blood vessels leaks into third space. This causes something called hemoconcentration i e there is rise in blood hematocrit amor the packed cell volume in your CBC report along with low platelet Also there is accumulation of fluid in third spaces like chest and abdomen.
3 ) convalescent phase or recovery phase: In this phase the fluid that had leaked during critical phase comes back in the blood and patient starts to feel better .some amount of weakness and fatigue may remain for few weeks.
In management of dengue, fluid intake is very important in febrile and especially critical phases.
Take paracetamol for fever but do not take pain killers like NSAIDS. You should follow advise given by your doctor. In case you have warning signs as mentioned above you should immediately reach hospital and get yourself assessed by a doctor who can decide whether you need to be admitted to recieve fluids as required. Antibiotics have no role in dengue.
Also do not follow and get tensed about the platelet count. In dengue platelet count is going to fall and it takes time to recovery. Platelet transfusion is needed only when one has any bleeding or platelet count is very low. Instead it is important to look for any warning signs and symptoms and rise in hematocrit or packed cell volume .
For malaria, medicines are available which can clear your blood of any malarial parasite. You should take them as per your doctor’s advice.
The author is consultant for infectious diseases at Global Hospital in Parel, Mumbai. Views are personal.