Malaria

1 What is Malaria?

A disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted if you get bitten by an infected mosquito is called Malaria which produces recurrent attacks of chills and fever. An estimated 660,000 people each year died because of Malaria.

This disease is still prevalent in tropical and subtropical countries while the disease is uncommon in temperate climates. By distributing bed nets to help protect people from mosquito bites as they sleep.

World health officials are trying to reduce the incidence of malaria. Scientists and experts all over the world are working together to develop a vaccine to prevent malaria.

Take preventive medicine before, during and after your trip if you are travelling to locations where malaria is common though many malaria parasites are already immune to common medicines used in treating malaria.

2 Symptoms

Within a few weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito, signs and symptoms of malaria begin.

Recurrent attacks with the following signs and symptoms are the characterization of malaria infection such as moderate to severe shaking chills, high fever, sweating, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The parasites that cause malaria can lie dormant in your body for up to a year. If you had a high fever after travelling or while living in to a high-risk malaria region consult your doctor.

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3 Causes

A type of microscopic parasite that is transmitted most commonly by mosquito bites is the cause of Malaria. Here is the mosquito transmission cycle: Uninfected mosquito, by feeding on a person who has malaria, a mosquito becomes infected.

Transmission of the parasite, it can transmit malaria parasites to you if you are the next person it bites; In the liver, the parasite will then travel inside your liver and some types can lie dormant for as long as a year.

Into the bloodstream, they leave the liver and infect your red blood cells once the parasites mature leading to malaria symptoms. On to the person, you can infect an uninfected mosquito once he bites you and will spread them to the next uninfected person.

People can also catch malaria from exposures to infected blood because the parasites that cause malaria affect our red blood cells such as: through blood transfusions, if you are sharing needles used in drugs and from mother to unborn child.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Consult your physician if you suspect that you have malaria or you are experiencing symptoms of malaria to receive a diagnosis. He may refer you to an infectious disease specialist. Bring a family or a friend with you.

Bring a notebook and you can write the symptoms that you are experiencing and you can also write the medications, supplements and vitamins that you are taking. Write down any medical family history.

You can ask some of these questions:

  • What’s likely causing my symptoms?
  • Do I have malaria?
  • What treatments are available?
  • Is this fatal?
  • Are there any medications I should be taking? 

Your doctor will likely ask you some questions such as:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • When did they start?
  • Have you ever had malaria before?
  • Are you living in a region where malaria is common?
  • Have you travelled to a region where malaria is common? 

Your physician will conduct a physical exam to check your neurological function or your spleen and will look for other causes of fever.

Your doctor will conduct a blood test to look for the parasite and to figure out if: you have malaria, the type of malaria parasite that you have, if the parasite is resistant to certain drugs, if it is affecting any vital organs in your body.

Other can produce the results within 15 minutes but others can take up to several days.

5 Treatment

The treatment for malaria is medication. Your doctor will give you what kind of medicine and for how long are you going to take it depending on: what kind of malaria do you have, how severe is it, your age, and if you are pregnant.

Some of the common anti-malarial drugs include Chloroquine (Aralen), Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), Mefloquine, Quinine sulfate (Qualaquin), a combination of proguanil (Malarone) and atovaquone.

Researchers are still trying to look for new drug formulations because some of the parasites are drug-resistant and in some parts of the world, Chloroquine has been ineffective.

6 Prevention

There is still no malaria vaccine yet according to scientists, they are still trying to find a vaccine that will be effective and safe. Consult your doctor about the medicines that you can take a few months ahead of time if you are going to travel to an area where malaria is common.

These medicines should be taken before, during and after your travel so you will be protected from malaria parasites. You have to tell your doctor where you are going to travel so that he can give you the right medicine for the malaria parasite most commonly found in that area.

The same medicines used to treat malaria disease are the same medicines that he will give you to prevent malaria.

You can also prevent malaria parasites by covering your skin such as wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts especially from dusk until dawn, spray your house with insecticides to kill adult mosquitoes, spray your skin with sprays containing DEET and your clothes containing permethrin, bed nets especially for children and pregnant women.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Some of the homeopathic remedies for managing malaria symptoms include:

  • Cinchona (Cinch), most commonly used for an epidemic,
  • Arsenicum (Ars), a sovereign remedy for malarial cachexia,
  • Nux Vomica (Nux-V), the most important remedy for an abuse of quinine,
  • Natrum muriaticum (Nat-m).

Malaria can cause a headache, chills, muscle aches, and fever.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Some lifestyle tips on how to prevent malaria transmission by controlling its population include:

  • using bed nets that have insecticides to prevent bites from malaria-infected mosquitoes,
  • spraying your house with insecticides to kill the mosquitoes before it bites you.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with malaria.

The biggest risk factor of being infected by malaria parasite is traveling or living to regions or places where malaria is common. There are different subtypes of malaria parasites that exist.

They are common in places such as African countries south of the Sahara Desert; Asian subcontinent; and Papua New Guinea, Haiti and Solomon Islands.

People who are more at risk include travelers from areas with no malaria, infants and children; pregnant women and their unborn child, if you have little knowledge of malaria disease, you came from poverty, there are no hospitals or health care or clinics in your area.

Malaria is s fatal disease especially in tropical parts of Africa. 90 percent of all malaria deaths occur in Africa most common in children under the age of 5 was estimated by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Malaria can lead to complications such as breathing problems because of the accumulated fluid in your lungs or pulmonary edema, low blood sugar from the parasite or from the medicine Quinine which is the common drug used for malaria, anemia because the disease can damage red blood cells, organ failure most common in kidney and liver failure and your spleen will rupture, cerebral malaria, there will be swelling in your brain or you might have brain damage due to blocking of small blood vessels in your brain and may cause coma.

Some of the malaria parasites can cause relapses and may persist for years. People who are exposed to malaria frequently are already immune from the disease but if it can disappear if you travel to a region when there is no malaria parasite.

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