Betaab, a 12 year old, cheerful and active boy loved playing with his friends in the evening. One fine day, he caught a fever with chills. His parents thought it was mere fever due to overexertion. However, soon the fever spiked, and he had to rush to the emergency department at the hospital. His condition was serious. He was suffering from dengue, with an extremely low platelet count.
There are numerous such cases where fever conditions are ignored, especially post monsoons. Many of us think that mosquito borne diseases will go away after the rains! This is not true. Mosquitoes breed in clean, stagnant waters.
That little flying mosquito at houses, in the parks seem harmless, but a few species from these are considered to be extremely harmful. Areas with hot & humid climatic conditions are worse affected by mosquitoes since it provides the apt atmosphere for breeding.
While it’s impossible to identify mosquitoes and their breed with naked eyes, it is best to know they can be dangerous! Having these creatures in and around your vicinity can be dangerous for your health as well.
Diseases & Symptoms
- Dengue: Its symptoms include high fever, rashes, headache, muscle and joint ache as well as serious bleeding in certain cases.
- Chikungunya: The symptoms of this disease include fever, joint pain initially followed by muscle pain, headaches, fatigue and even a rash.
- Malaria: is a life threatening disease that plagues 219 million people in 87 different countries every year. Symptoms are first seen a couple of weeks after the bite, and they include chilling sensations, fever and excess sweating.
- Japanese Encephalitis: Common in rural and agricultural areas of Asia and the west Pacific, this disease can cause brain swelling and sudden headaches. It is not a long term disease, but in the short period, may even cause high fever and disorientation. A vaccine is available, which has a 90% effectiveness rate.
- Zika: While the epidemic is over, you must be aware of this disturbing virus. It can cause a fever, rashes, joint pains and red eyes. All of this may be accompanied by prolonged fatigue, loss of appetite, headache and vomiting.
- Lymphatic Filariasis: Spread through parasitic worms on mosquitoes, this disease, also known as Elephantiasis plagues a significant number of people across the country. While a lot of the cases may be symptomless, and hard to spot, in the long run, this disease leads to extreme swelling in the legs, arms and genitals.
- Kala-Azar: Also known as Black Fever, this disease is carried by infected sandflies. While treatment is possible, if untreated, it can be fatal. About 5000 cases are reported every year in the subcontinent alone. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, swelling of the liver, and loss of appetite.
What Can Be Done About Mosquito Bites?
- Drain any long standing water: Check flower pots, gutters, bird bath, etc. Ensure there is no water collected inside or near your house. Mosquitoes breed in clean stagnant water.
- Many people collect water in the fear of not getting water. This collected clean water is often forgotten overtime and becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Prevent mosquitoes from coming inside your house. Try using screens on windows, and nets on the bed.
- While you cannot stop children from playing outside, make them use the mosquito repellent.
- Use Natural Repellents: My grandmother swears by using mustard oil instead of a repellent. Neem oil, putting the Neem oil on a dispenser also seems to act as an excellent organic repellent. See what suits your skin!
- Colours, odors and other smells seem to have an impact on attracting the mosquitoes! Since we can’t change that about our bodies, it is best to wear loose, covered clothing during the high breeding seasons.
- Citronella mosquito repellent plant, (Citrosum plants) help repel mosquitoes. This plant grows in the form of grass and is 5 to 6 feet tall. It can be planted in the ground or can be kept in large pots.
In case if you notice a high fever along with chills, rashes/ body ache or any bleeding tendencies consult your physician for a correct diagnosis & management. Remember to hydrate yourself (or the person impacted), try to keep the body temperature low by using wet-cold packs on the forehead. While these are emergency measures, it is best to avoid getting into such a situation and taking the necessary precautions.
Prevention is the cure in such situations!
We hope this article helps you stay safe! Do share your thoughts in the comments below!