One of the commonest disease people visit chemist, pharmacy and hospital for is malaria. Malaria is an endemic disease in Nigeria and some developing countries. We therefore wonder what the reason behind this is. When we look around us, we realize that we have a very good habitat for mosquitoes and when these mosquitoes bite,they can cause malaria infection. We have bushes around us, there are a lot of stagnant waters out there. Our hygiene is not even up to the standard.
What makes it worse is that most of those at risk especially children are malnourished. Pregnancy also reduces the immunity of pregnant women. Their body cannot fight any slight infection. So what happens? They come down with malaria frequently.
Malaria drugs have also been abused. People go over the counter to purchase these drugs without confirming if they have malaria or not. This has led to drug resistance. What then is the way forward? We have to prevent mosquito bites in everybody and especially those that are more vulnerable. This include children less than 5 years and pregnant women. The easiest and cheapest way to go about this is by using Insecticide Treated Nets.
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Insecticide Treated Nets
Insecticide Treated Nets [ITN] protect against mosquito bites thereby preventing you from having malaria. The insecticide on the nets kills or keeps away mosquito and other insects. Pregnant women and children less than 5 years needs ITN more because of their low immunity.
Why is net with insecticide preferable?
Some people wonder why they cannot just use mosquito net that is not treated. They feel it should keep mosquito away. They claim they do not like the smell of ITN and feel it may be very harmful to children especially. The point is if a net is not treated, mosquitoes can stick to the net, make noise and prevent you from sleeping. Also, they can make hole on the net and bite you. they can even bite where the net is very close to your skin.
Also, before you use your ITN for the first time or after it has been treated, you should spread it under a shade for some hours. The smell of the insecticide will go away in a few days and it is not harmful to people who sleep under the net. It is only toxic to mosquitoes and other insects. WHO recommended Long Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets can last for 3 years.
How frequent do you treat your nets with insecticide?
– Your ITN should be treated after it has been washed 3 times
– It can also be treated once or twice in a year.
How do you treat your net at home?
-Gather the necessary equipment. This include: net, insecticide, basin, measuring equipment and gloves. Make sure the net is clean. It is best to treat the net in the shade outside.
-Put on your gloves. Measure the correct amount of water; for synthetic net, add 1/2 litre of water and for cotton net, add 2 litres of water.
Pour the correct amount of water in the basin. The amount of water does not depend on the size of the net.
-Insecticide comes as tablet, sachet, small bottle or liquid. Mix 1 dose of insecticide with water to treat 1 net of any size. Mix the water and insecticide thoroughly.
-Unfold the net and put it in the basin with the insecticide solution you have prepared. Soak the net long enough to ensure that all parts of the net are impregnated.
-Lift the net and wring gently. Do not wring too hard or you will loose the insecticide. Stretch the net out flat to dry in the shade. Later you can also hang it up to finish drying.
-Dispose the insecticide solution in the toilet. Wash the basin with soap and lots of water. Destroy empty insecticide containers and wash your hands with soap.
- Do not leave the net in the sun during the day because sunshine weakens the insecticide.
- Washing removes the insecticide from the net. Wash the net gently with soap and cold water. Avoid hard and frequent washing because it removes the insecticide. Remember to always wash the net before treating it again.
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