Every year, 25th of April is celebrated as the World Malaria Day. This year, the World Malaria Day theme is 'Ready to beat Malaria'. This disease is life-threatening, which is caused by the bite of a mosquito. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms and prevention of malaria.
Causes Of Malaria:
Malaria is caused by the plasmodium parasite and it is transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. Once an infected mosquito bites a human being, the parasites multiply in the host's liver before infecting and destroying the red blood cells.
Within 48 to 72 hours, the parasites inside the red blood cells multiply, which causes the infected cells to burst open. This results in symptoms like flu, fever and chills, deep breathing, abnormal bleeding, signs of anaemia, and impaired consciousness.
This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has joined hands with its partner organisations in order to promote its theme. This marks the importance of collective responsibility and commitment of the global malaria community in bringing people together on working towards a world that is free of malaria.
These are some of the rare facts about malaria:
- Though malaria is a life-threatening disease, it can be cured and prevented.
- In the year 2016, deaths caused by malaria were estimated to be around 4,45,000. And in the year 2015, the number was 4,46,000, which is quite close to the number in 2016.
- In 2016, 216 million malaria cases were reported in 91 countries. Since 2015, there was an increase in 5 million cases.
- The WHO African region has a disproportionately high share of malaria burden globally.
- Half of the world's population was reported to be at a risk of malaria in 2016.
- Children under 5 years of age, HIV/AIDS patients, pregnant women, and travellers are at a higher risk of developing malaria.
Indian Diet For Malaria:
There is no specific diet for malaria, but adequate nutrition is the key for treating malaria. A good and healthy diet should focus on strengthening the patient's immune system without affecting the liver, kidney and digestive system.
Here is a list of some of the foods to eat and avoid during malaria.
1. When a person is suffering with high fever - a symptom of malaria, there is a decrease in appetite as well as decreased tolerance. Thus, calorie intake is a big challenge. During this time, it's important to consume foods that provide instant energy such as glucose water, fruit juice, sugarcane juice, coconut water, electrolyte drinks, and so on.
2. A malaria patient suffers with massive tissue loss and that is where protein is needed in a malaria diet. A high-protein and high-carbohydrate diet is helpful in protein utilization for anabolic and tissue-building purposes. Intake of protein-rich foods like milk, curd, buttermilk, fish stew, lassi, chicken soup, eggs, etc., are useful to fulfil the protein requirement.
3. Loss of electrolytes and water is common in a malaria patient. So, food preparations in the form of juices, soup, stew, rice water, coconut water, dal water, etc., are beneficial.
4. Moderate amount of fatty foods should be taken into consideration. The uses of dairy fats like cream, butter, fats in milk products, and so on are helpful in digestion, as they contain medium-chain triglycerides. Excessive use of fat in foods aggravate nausea and impair digestion, which leads to diarrhoea.
5. Vitamin C and vitamin A rich foods such as beetroot, carrot, papaya, citrus fruits like orange, mosambi, grapes, pineapple, berries, lemon, etc., along with vitamin B complex are very useful for boosting immunity.
Foods To Avoid In A Malaria Diet:
1. High-fibre foods like whole grain cereals must be avoided by malaria patients. Instead, eating fruits and pulses will provide adequate nutrition.
2. Consumption of caffeine in the form of tea, and coffee must be avoided.
3. Eating fried and processed foods, oily and spicy foods can aggravate nausea and can disturb the digestion process in the body.
Precautions For Malaria Patients
- Wear full-sleeve clothes to keep the mosquitoes away from biting you.
- If you have a malaria infection, dark-coloured clothes should also be avoided.
- Malaria infected people should also avoid going out in grassy and swampy areas at night.
- Spray mosquito repellents and put mosquito coils outside and inside the rooms.
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