Patient Awareness

Malaria Disease: All You Need to Know

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The dreaded mosquito pinches your skin, and as you swat the poor fellow, you imagine all the issues that prospective malaria disease will bring. As you slap that one away to oblivion, know that not all mosquitoes cause malaria. Only Anopheles mosquito, when infected by a parasite- Plasmodium, causes malaria.

Malaria Causes

When the malaria parasite infects the Anopheles mosquito, it starts its lifecycle in the malaria mosquito’s body. Each of the subspecies of this parasite causes different symptoms and responds to different treatments. Upon getting transferred to the human body when the malaria mosquito bites, it first goes to the liver to multiply and finally attacks the red blood cells.

Malaria is not a communicable disease because it does not spread from person to person. Once the mosquito has bitten, it can take anywhere from seven to 20 days for the malaria symptoms to appear.

Malaria Symptoms

The incubation period of malaria disease is anywhere from one week on wards. The spectrum of malaria symptoms is quite broad. Depending on what the symptoms are, it can be divided into two kinds.

Uncomplicated Malaria

In this kind, the patient suffers from

  • Fevers and chills that alternate between a gap of 24 hours. In the cold stage of malaria disease¸ the person feels cold and shivers. When the hot stage strikes, he suffers from fever, sweating and excessive tiredness.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Body aches

Complicated Malaria

When other body systems come under attack, it is termed as Complicated Malaria. The symptoms are:

  • Kidney Failure
  • Joint pain
  • Anaemia occurs as the first component to get attacked are the red blood cells
  • Cardiovascular system collapses
  • Cerebral Malaria is characterized by confusion or abnormal behavior, seizures and even unconsciousness.
  • Low blood sugar (especially noticed in the case of pregnant women if they have been treated)

Treatment

Your general physician to an infectious-disease specialist can treat malaria disease. The malaria treatment has to be comprehensive and must ensure that the condition has been rooted out entirely else recurrence in milder forms is a possibility. All the below points help in the diagnosis of malaria disease.

  • Recent travel history
  • Fever
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Low level of platelets
  • High level of bilirubin with a normal level of white blood cells

Antimalaria medicines are used to treat the condition. If the malaria is uncomplicated, oral dosages can cure. Antimalaria medicines like quinine, amodiaquine, lumefantrine, sulfadoxine are used in combination with artemisinins.

For complicated malaria, the antimalaria medicines are given intravenously. Blood sugar, respiratory distress, and blood potassium are monitored explicitly in malaria in children.

Prevention

There are no vaccines for malaria. Malaria precautions include prevention of bites from the malaria mosquito.

  • Mosquito populations need to be controlled by spraying insecticides and indoor sprays to prevent malaria.
  • Mosquito nets are an effective and noninvasive way of controlling malaria disease. Nowadays, you even get insecticide-treated mosquito nets that provide a better prevention measure.
  • Decreasing the open water drains and open water stagnant pools is also a useful malaria prevention

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