What is Malaria?
Malaria is a potentially fatal condition that is spread through the bite of an Anopheles mosquito carrying the infection. The Plasmodium parasite is carried by infected mosquitoes and enters your system when this insect bites you. Once inside your body, the parasites move to your liver, where they mature into a serious threat. The adult parasites cause infection to red blood cells a few days after entering your bloodstream.
These parasites have a rapid growth pace and take 48 to 72 hours to grow within red blood cells and rupture them. As the parasites continue to target red blood cells, the symptoms appear in cycles that last two to three days.
Causes of Malaria
Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malaria, and Plasmodium falciparum are the four types of malaria parasites that can infect people. Plasmodium falciparum poses a bigger risk than the other and can prove to be fatal if not treated on time. Malaria can also be transferred to a newborn by an infected mother, also known as congenital malaria. Infected blood can also act as a carrier for Malaria and spread the disease. Other common causes of malaria include:
- Sharing of needles and syringes
- Blood transfusion
- Organ transplant
Symptoms of Malaria
Malaria symptoms frequently include chills, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting, and are quite similar to viral flu symptoms. You may also suffer from anemia and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) as a result of the loss of red blood cells.
Symptoms of the infection could get more severe if not addressed. These include kidney disease, convulsions, disorientation, and even coma and death. Following the infection, the symptoms of malaria often take 10 days to 4 weeks to appear. Sometimes symptoms won’t appear for a few months as certain parasites that cause malaria can enter the body and remain latent for a very long time.
How is Malaria Treated?
Malaria can be fatal especially if you have been infected by the parasite P. falciparum. Visit your nearest multi super speciality hospital on noticing any malaria symptoms. Your treatment for Malaria will vary depending on the kind of parasite that has infected you.
Due to the parasite’s drug resistance, the prescribed medicine may occasionally fail to treat the condition. If this happens, your doctor may take a different approach to malaria treatment and recommend more than one drug or a different medication entirely. Your medication will also depend on the location of the infection, your medical history, the severity of the ailment, whether you are pregnant, and any other medications.
- vivax and P. ovale can be quite harmful as they possess the ability to stay in the body for a long before reactivating and infecting the patient again.
Prevention of Malaria
There isn’t a malaria vaccine on the market. If you live in or are traveling to a region where malaria is prevalent, consult your doctor. To stop the sickness, you could be given some preventive medicine. These prescription drugs should be taken before, during, and after your travel, and are the same ones that are used to treat the disease. Consult your doctor about long-term prevention methods if your surroundings are malaria prone. A mosquito bite can also be avoided by sleeping under a net and following similar preventive measures. Bug covers or DEET-containing bug sprays can also assist prevent infection.