Malaria kills about one million children across the world every year, and is a major cause of hospitalization, especially in tropical regions like Asia and Africa. Since mosquitoes are the primary triggers of malaria, it is very important that you limit your child's exposure to them as much as possible.
Children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years are more vulnerable to this disease. Fear not, while malaria might seem scary it is still very much treatable and curable!
Symptoms of malaria in young children
The symptoms of malaria are usually seen within two weeks of being bitten by the malaria-bearing mosquito. Most children become drowsy, irritable and lose their appetite and sleep. These are early symptoms of Malaria, which are very similar to the symptoms of flu.
Some of the major symptoms of malaria in children are:
- High temperature and chills and body ache
- Drowsiness and irritability
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach aches and vomiting
- Hypothermia (low body temperature, where the body loses heat resulting in deadly consequences)
- Insomnia and restlessness
- Excessive sweating
Treatment and Diagnosis
If your child has these symptoms, you must call the doctor right away.
Since the symptoms of malaria are similar to that of chikungunya and dengue, the doctor might have to do a blood test to confirm that it is malaria. Once the treatment starts, make sure you give the prescribed anti malarial medicines in the right dosage along with other supportive care and your little one will recover within a couple of days.
Here are some preventive measures to give your kids a fighting chance against malaria.
- Make sure you dress your child in full sleeves and light coloured clothes. Dark-hued clothes tend to attract mosquitoes.
- Keep your surroundings clean. Don't let water stagnate in your garden or in buckets. These are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Protect your child with mosquito repellents. You can use herbal sprays and body creams, which help in keeping mosquitoes away.
- As malaria carrying mosquitoes usually attack at night, use a mosquito bed net to protect your child from being bitten. Long lasting insecticidal nets are very useful, especially in high prevalence area.
Mosquitoes love the monsoons just as much as your kids do! Now that the rains are here, you might want to take the necessary precautions to keep your mini-me safe from the wrath of those malarial mosquitoes!