World malaria day is just around the corner so we thought to share some important information about Mosquito related diseases. We’ll take a look at the peak seasons in Pakistan, the major diseases associated with a mosquito bite and some tips for staying safe.
For Pakistan, Mosquito season coincides mostly with the rainy season during summers. Mosquito population in Pakistan has increased dramatically since 2009. These insects carry a number of dangerous diseases like dengue, Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever and more recently, Chikungunya. Mosquitoes have very short life cycles, something very common in species considered as a “plague”. They reproduce quickly and the Aedes aegypti (a major vector for diseases in Pakistan) needs blood to produce offspring. Several different viruses and other pathogens use these insects as a place in which they can develop part of their own life cycle and then, as the mosquito feeds on blood, access the human circulation and eventually cause serious health problems.
Mosquitoes as Carriers of Diseases In Pakistan
In Pakistan there are 3 main diseases carried by mosquitoes: Malaria, Dengue fever and Yellow fever.
Malaria is an infectious disease characterized by intermittent high fever, this is caused by a parasite injected as the mosquito feeds from human blood called Plasmodium.
Dengue fever, which saw a dramatic rise around 2010, is a painful and debilitating viral disease characterized by high fever, muscular pain, fatigue and nausea.
Finally, Yellow Fever is also a viral disease, similar to Dengue, but in this case the fever and overall symptoms tend to last for a lesser time and be less severe at first, only recurring in more severe cases were liver damage can occur.
Defense Against Mosquitoes
The main way to prevent these diseases is to reduce the mosquito population and/or reduce the probability of contact between humans and this insect. Some of the simplest advices are:
Cover all the water containers.
Clean the water containers once a week, change the water in possible.
Apply mosquito repellants on your body.
Wear clothes that cover your full body, indoors or outdoors.
Install meshes for windows and doors.
Scents and Perfumes might attract mosquitoes so avoid them.
Try to avoid to go out at dawn and dusk in areas where there are lots of mosquitos.
Stagnant Water is a common mosquito territory, avoid standing or walking by it.
If bitten, there are a few simple steps to take to clean the wound and avoid allergic reactions.
Wash the wound with soap and water and apply ice to the wound as soon as you notice it.
Soothe the area by applying an over-the-counter medication designed for use on insect bites.
Ingest an over-the-counter fever medicine. However as always, taking an antibiotic without prescription is risky. It’s big no especially in case of Dengue, as it can further decrease your platelet count which can make the disease fatal.
Fever Management and Basic Advice
Each different disease has it’s own management technique that your physician will decie. It is possible to keep fever in check with simple medicine like Aspirin. Dengue fever starts with a fever that can last from 3 to 7 days, after that, symptoms will continue and should eventually fade. However, if the patient starts to vomit blood, bleed, experience severe abdominal pain, pale skin, difficulty breathing or other dangerous symptoms, then professional healthcare is strongly recommended. Malaria patients often need to be hospitalized and treated for parasitic infection. Yellow fever is more difficult to distinguish from most infections and sometimes is mistaken for a simple flu, however, up to 85% op patients recover after a few days (6 days of first symptoms and a short remission).
Have you or someone you know ever been infected with one of these diseases? Do you have any other tips to stay away from mosquitoes?