What is Malaria?
Malaria could be a life-threatening Disease caused due to mosquitoes to humans and other animals. It is transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite in them, which are released into the bloodstream when bitten. These parasites then travel to the liver where they multiply and further infect the red blood cells. Over the span of a few days, these parasites multiply to the extent of entering and breaking open the blood cells causing Symptoms to show on the body. Malaria signs are very evident and can quickly be Diagnosed. However, malaria Treatment may take longer and is an extensive process that requires professional help.
What Causes Malaria?
Malaria is caused when an infected mosquito with the Plasmodium parasite bites you. The four kinds of malaria parasites that are capable of infecting humans are Plasmodium vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. falciparum. The most dangerous form of this disease is caused when the P. falciparum parasite bites you. This form is Risky enough to even cause death. This Disease can also be passed on from an infected mother to an infant during the birth phase and is known as congenital malaria.
Since Malaria is transmitted through the blood, it can also spread in the following ways:
- Organ transplant
- Blood transfusion
- Use of shared needles/syringes
What are the Symptoms of malaria?
The Symptoms of Malaria don’t show up immediately and can take from 2-4 weeks to show after being infected. However, at times, Symptoms may not be experienced even for several months and this happens when the parasite has entered the body and remains dormant for a long period of time.
Some of the common symptoms experienced due to Malaria include:
- Moderate to severe chills in the body
- High-temperature fever
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea or bloody stools
- Body muscle pain
- Coma, in severe cases
Who is at Risk?
The disease is more common in tropical and subtropical climate regions such as Africa, as compared to temperate climate regions. People that are more at risk when faced with malaria are young children, older adults above 60 years old, pregnant women and their unborn child, and people traveling from and across tropical areas.
How is Malaria Diagnosed?
Malaria can only be Treated with external intervention from a doctor. An important part of testing malaria will include a review of your health history as well as your travel history, as malaria is dominantly active in places with a tropical climate.
A physical malaria test by your doctor will be able to determine if you have an enlarged spleen or liver, which is a major Sign of malaria. Certain blood tests are also required for you to Diagnose malaria. The tests will show the results of:
- Detect whether you are infected with malaria
- Detect what kind of malaria you have
- If your malaria is caused by a mosquito that is resistant to certain types of medication
- If the infection has caused you anemia
- If your vital organs have been infected by the infection
How Is Malaria Treated?
The Malaria Disease could be life-threatening, especially if the parasite P. falciparum has caused the infection. The Disease requires being treated by doctors in the hospital depending on the kind of parasite that you have been infected with.
However, it is not always guaranteed that the Treatment completely clears out the parasite, as some of them are resistant to drugs. In such cases, doctors may need to alter and increase the dosage of medications altogether to treat the condition.
Moreover, there are certain types of parasites like P. vivax and P. ovale which live for a much longer period of time in your bloodstream and reactivates after a while, which Causes a relapse of the infection in your body. A second medication is given in order to prevent the relapse of this infection in your body in the future.
How can Malaria be Prevented?
While there is no vaccine found yet to completely Prevent malaria, there are some precautions that can be taken. The first and foremost being taking certain malaria tablets and being well prepared if you are going to a tropical zone where these parasites prevail and are active. Your Family Doctor will prescribe you with malaria medicines to take before, during, and after the trip to Prevent getting infected with this dangerous disease.
Apart from these, some basic precautions such as protective clothing, mosquito repellants, and mosquito nets to sleep under are highly recommended to carry when traveling.
Consult doctor online at Care.fit can help you with these medications and help guide you to take precautionary methods when needed. The tips for the Prevention of malaria are a must-have when planning a trip to such areas. You must visit the malaria doctor as soon as you suspect and start seeing malaria Signs and Symptoms.