The most awaited season is all set to arrive in India. Though pouring rain is a relief from the scorching heat, the mosquito bites, diseases and infections it brings along also make it a dreaded season for parents. Mosquito bites give birth to diseases such as chikungunya, malaria, respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, typhoid and cold which gets very common during monsoons. The humid climate acts as catalyst for the spread of air, water and mosquito borne diseases.
According to WHO, Mosquitos are a pest that doesn’t have any match. Though not all mosquitoes transmit life-threatening diseases, Mosquito Bites do kill approximately 725 000 people worldwide every year.
Dengue, Chikungunya and Malaria are the most life threatening diseases borne out of mosquito bites that affect the life of 1.4 billion people living in the South-East Asia. These diseases can result in nausea, fever and vomiting. Dengue and Chikungunya are spread by Aedes aegypti mosquito bites, which can also spread Zika and yellow fever in the region. The frightening Zika virus has seen a spread in Ahmedabad, Gujarat last year.
With these threats to the health caused by mosquito bites, babies are under the radar for transmission. Given below is a cause of the disease with some common symptoms and finally, ways to treat it. If any of these symptoms are found in your baby, rush him to the doctor immediately. Also keep an eye on the people around you so that you can keep the baby from catching these diseases through personal contact.
Malaria is a life threatening blood disease transmitted through female Anopheles Mosquito. After the mosquito bites a human and the parasites transmit inside, the parasites stick to the host’s liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells. This disease can be treated and controlled early on. In some areas of the world lacking medical facilities, malaria can be fatal.
Symptoms of Malaria
- Fever, Vomiting and Headaches
- Seizures in babies and toddlers
- Sensation of cold and shivering
- Frequent Sweats followed by a return to the normal temperature.
- Respiratory distress
- Abnormal bleeding
- Evidence of vital organ dysfunction
- Impaired Consciousness
If the disease is left untreated, it can result in death. The aim of the treatment is to eliminate the Plasmodium parasite from the patient’s bloodstream. WHO recommends Artemisinin-based combination therapy for the treatment of uncomplicated Malaria. Artemisinin is derived from a plant called sweet wormwood, which is better known for its ability to significantly reduce the number of parasites in the bloodstream.
Dengue is a viral disease that spreads because of mosquito bites. It is prevalent through tropical and subtropical regions. It spreads with the bites of Aedes mosquito that contains dengue virus in their blood. It can not be directly spread from one person to another.
Symptoms of Dengue
- Severe headaches
- Sudden, high fever
- Severe joint and muscle pain
- Pain behind the eyes
- Mild bleeding in nose, gums and easy bruising
- Rashes on the skin
Sometimes these symptoms can be taken for the symptoms of flu or other viral infections. Then severe symptoms might develop which include high fever, damage to lymph and blood vessels,enlargement of the liver, failure of the circulatory system and bleeding from the nose and gums.
There is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever. The best way to stay protected is to prevent mosquito bites and making efforts to shoot the mosquito population down. There is no specific medicine to treat dengue infection. Pain relievers like acetaminophen and aspirin could worsen bleeding.
Chikungunya is a disease spread by mosquito bites which causes a sudden onset of fever and severe joint pain. It has been found in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and India. Some joint pains might last for months in small children or older adults even after the disease has been treated completely.
- Sudden and persistent fever
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Pain
- Joint Swelling
Symptoms usually begin within 3-7 days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. Most patients feel better after a week but the pain can last for months.
There is no vaccine to treat this virus. To treat the symptoms you can get plenty of rest and drink fluids to prevent dehydration. You can take medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or paracetamol to reduce fever and pain. If you have chikungunya you must prevent mosquito bites for the first week of the identification of this illness. Chikungunya virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. The infected mosquitoes can spread the virus to other people.
Zika is a virus transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquito which also transmits dengue and chikungunya. The name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first located in 1947. In pregnant women, the virus can cause defects like microcephaly (unusually small heads) and brain abnormalities. It can also result in Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes paralysis.
Symptoms of Zika
- Mild Fever
- Skin Rashes
- Muscle and Joint Pain
- Body ache
Only 20% of the patients actually display these symptoms which can last a week .
The high birth rate in India and the birth defects that this disease causes, it is a big threat to the pregnant mothers and their newborn population. There are no treatments or vaccines available to cure this disease and that makes it even more harmful.
These diseases affect the health of babies and adults alike but the symptoms can be more harmful for the little ones as they have a weaker immune system. As is always said, Prevention is better than cure, so here is a list of steps you can undertake to prevent the spread of these mosquito borne diseases.
Measures to prevent the diseases triggered by Mosquito Bites
- Maintain a clean environment with appropriately covered water storage units. Coolers, Plants, Water Tanks and even buckets can act as breeding grounds for Mosquitoes.
- Use mosquito repellent creams and sprays on the skin of the baby whenever you have to leave the house. Make the baby wear fully covered clothing at all times if possible.
- Make sure that the house is free from mosquitos using coils, sprays and other methods.
- Make the baby sleep inside a mosquito net to make him secure.
- Whenever you are planning to travel to a new location, research about the health risks posed there and the vaccines you might need.
We hope this article has helped to you get information about the various mosquito borne diseases with their symptoms and treatment. The prevention tips to Avoid Mosquito-Borne Diseases are essential to safe you from the suffering caused by such diseases. Write to us in the comments section below about the measures that you are adopting this monsoon to save your little one from mosquito bites.
Happy Parenting !