Mosquitoes are the main cause of malaria though they cause other fatal diseases like yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya etc.; they infect humans with plasmodium parasite (the bacteria that causes malaria) when they bite, without them biting one in the first place and infecting them with plasmodium, they will be no malaria. An anopheles mosquito carrying the plasmodium parasite has the sporozoites in their saliva, during the process of biting and sucking blood, the sporozoites enters the body and heads straight to the liver where it matures and converts to merozoites.
These merozoites then multiply in the cells of the liver till they rupture and burst open and flow into the blood stream; as they enter the blood stream, they immediately start to invade the red blood cells and enter them; they multiply quickly and rupture the red blood cells bursting them open; they also destroy newly formed red blood cells. This massive destruction of the red blood makes them unable to carry out their function; the red blood cells helps in transporting oxygen to every tissue and organ of the body and removes carbondioxide, a toxic by product of respiration. When they are unable to carry out this function, the body gets affected and signs and symptoms of malaria start to manifest and if untreated, it can lead to death.
There are commercial insecticides that are available in the market but they are expensive, inhaling them gives unpleasant side effects and they also have negative impact on the environment. There are things we can do and natural things we can mix and put in our homes that can make them unwelcome and scare this unwanted blood sucking insects away from our home without side effects and they are also safe for the environment, thereby preventing malaria.
- Clean environment: Dirty and water lodged environment are breeding grounds for mosquitoes; if your environment is dirty, mosquitoes will feel welcomed. Cut the grass around your house; create proper water drainage to prevent water lodging and harbouring mosquitoes. Sleeping in mosquito treated nets can help if you have no control over the neatness of your environment, e.g. when you are staying in a hostel with plenty students and the place is always wet and dirty.
- Homemade mosquito trap: This method is known as sugar-yeast fermentation, it is a cheap, effective and convenient way of getting rid of mosquitoes from your home. Add brown sugar in hot water and mix well and let it cool; cut a plastic bottle in two and pour the mixture in it; add yeast and put the other half in it like a funnel (that is upside down). Wrap a black tape round the bottle but leave the top uncovered. Put this in an area where mosquitoes are plenty. Change the solution every two weeks.
- Garlic: This common kitchen ingredient repels mosquitoes; they even hate the smell of garlic. Garlic is so powerful that it can even kill the larva of mosquitoes when it comes in contact with it. You can crush few cloves of garlic and expose it so that the scent can fill the room and if you want to eliminate them permanently, you can make homemade mosquito repellent using garlic. To do this; crush few cloves of garlic and boil it with water then pour the mixture in a spray container and spray strategic locations of your house or their hideout, or you can use garlic powder. This will kill both the mosquitoes and their larva. You can eat garlic or rub the juice from crushed garlic cloves on your skin to prevent mosquito bites.
- Dry ice: Mosquitoes are attracted to carbondioxide; the air we breathe out. Using dry ice is a method of trapping mosquitoes to kill them. Dry ice emits carbondioxide, so put it in an open container and leave it for a while; when it attracts all the mosquitoes, close the lid and take it out of the house. When you are in mosquito prone area, avoid exercising too much to avoid releasing too much carbondioxide that will attract mosquitoes to you.
- Ground coffee: Ground coffee when sprinkled on stagnant water brings the larva of mosquitoes to the surface of the water where they will be starved of oxygen and die; this will prevent them from hatching and reduce their population greatly.
- Camphor: Close all your doors and windows; light camphor and leave it for 30 minutes, you will not find any mosquito when you go back to the room. You can also make mosquito repellent with camphor and neem oil; put three camphor balls in an empty spray container, pour neem oil in it and spray strategic locations of your room; this will help in chasing mosquitoes away.
- Plant mosquito repellent plants around your house: There are certain herbs and plants that a mosquito hates the smell; planting some of these plants around your house even if it is in a pot or container will help you clear your environment of mosquitoes. Some of these plants are lemongrass, rosemary, basil, catnip, wormwood, peppermint, lavender, citrus, lemons, citronella, bay leaves, etc.
- Avoid strong perfumes and shampoos: Mosquitoes are attracted to artificial smell of perfumes and shampoos; they are also attracted to fabric conditioners and strong scenting sunscreens. Use artificial scents that are not too strong.
With these simple, cheap and effective homemade mosquito repellent techniques; your home will not be a convenient place for them thereby reducing the risk of you and your family members coming down with malaria.