Malaria | Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and more

Malaria

Malaria: Overview

Malaria is a condition caused by the parasite. The parasite spreads to humans by the bites of mosquitoes that are infected. Patients with malaria typically suffer from severe illness, with intense fever and shaking chills.

While malaria isn’t a problem in climates with temperate temperatures, it is still a common occurrence in subtropical and tropical countries. Every year, 300 million people are afflicted with malaria, and over 400,000 die from the disease.

To prevent malaria-related infections In order to reduce the risk of it, health organizations around the world distribute anti-malaria drugs and insecticide-treated bed nets to guard against mosquito bites. It is the World Health Organization has recommended an anti-malaria vaccine to be used on children in countries that have high rates of cases.

Protective clothes, bed nets and insecticides are a great way to protect yourself while traveling. Also, you can use preventive medication prior to or after your trip to an area with a high risk. A lot of malaria-related parasites are resistant to standard treatments for the illness.

Signs and symptoms

Malaria symptoms and signs can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • A general sensation of discomfort
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Joint pain or muscle ache
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid breathing
  • Heart rate is rapid
  • Cough

Certain people with malaria go through cycles of “attacks.” The typical attack begins with chills and shivering, then a fever rises that is followed by sweating and a return to normal temperature.

Malaria symptoms and signs generally begin within a couple of weeks following being bitten by mosquitoes infected. However, certain kinds of malaria parasites may remain dormant inside your body for as long as an entire year.

When is the best time to visit a doctor?

Speak to your physician when you notice fever during your stay in or traveling to a region with a high risk of malaria. If you experience serious symptoms, seek immediate medical treatment.

The Reasons

The cause of malaria is a parasite that has a single cell belonging to the genus the plasmodium. The parasite transmits to humans mostly by mosquito bites.

The transmission cycle of the mosquito

  • Infected mosquito. A mosquito can contract malaria by eating a person with malaria.
  • The transmission of the parasite. If a mosquito bites you in the near future the mosquito could transfer malaria-related parasites onto you.
  • Within the liver. When the parasites infiltrate the body of the person, they move to the liver in which some species can lay dormant for up to an entire year.
  • The bloodstream. Once the parasites have matured and died, they exit the liver and then infect your red blood cells. This is the time when most people suffer from malaria-related symptoms.
  • Moving on to the next. If a mosquito that isn’t infected is bitten by you during this stage of the cycle, it’ll be infected by malaria parasites and transfer them to the next individuals who bite it.

Other methods of transmission

Since the parasites responsible for malaria attack the red blood cell, individuals are also susceptible to malaria through exposure to blood contaminated with it which includes:

  • From mother to child unborn
  • Through blood transfusions
  • In sharing, needles used to inject drugs

Risk factors

The biggest risk factor in being infected with malaria is in or visiting regions that are prone to it. These are subtropical and tropical areas of:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • South as well as Southeast Asia
  • Pacific Islands
  • Central America and northern South America

The risk level depends on the local malarial control system as well as seasonal variations in the rate of it and the steps you can take to protect yourself from bites from mosquitoes.

The risk of developing a more severe disease

People who are at a higher risk of serious diseases are:

  • Infants and young children
  • Older adults
  • Travelers who are from areas with no malaria
  • Unborn babies and pregnant women. children

In many countries that have high rates of malaria The problem is exacerbated because of the absence of preventive measures, medical treatment, and even information.

It is possible for the immune system to weaken.

In the malaria region, people could be exposed to disease to the extent that they develop an irrational response, which could reduce the severity of malaria-related symptoms. However, this immunity may disappear when you relocate to a location that isn’t subjected to parasites.

Complications

The disease can cause death, specifically when it is caused by Plasmodium species found in Africa. It is estimated that the World Health Organization estimates that around 94% of malaria deaths happen in Africa and most often among children younger than five years old.

The majority of deaths from malaria are due to one or more severe problems which include:

  • Cerebral malaria. If blood cells containing parasites block blood vessels that are small to the cerebral cortex (cerebral malaria) there will be swelling in your brain or damage to the brain could be observed. Cerebral malaria could trigger seizures and even coma.
  • Trouble breathing. The accumulation of fluid in your lung (pulmonary edema) can cause breathing difficulties.
  • Organ failure. Malaria can cause damage to the liver and kidneys, as well as cause spleen rupture. Each of these conditions can be life-threatening.
  • Anemia. Malaria can result in being unable to produce sufficient red blood cells to provide a proper supply of oxygen to the tissues of your body (anemia).
  • A low blood sugar. Malaria that is severe can result in the condition of having low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and also quinine, which is a commonly used medication to treat it. Low blood sugar levels could lead to coma or even death.

Malaria may recur

Certain types of the malaria parasite, which usually result in milder forms of the disease, may persist for many years and lead to Relapses.

Prevention

If you reside in or travel in an area in which malaria is a common occurrence be sure to take precautions to be safe from mosquito bites. The mosquitoes are active most often between dawn and dusk. To guard yourself against mosquito bites, follow these steps:

  • Cover your skin. Wear long-sleeved and pants. Dress your shirt in a tuck and tie your pants into socks.
  • Apply insect repellent to the skin. Make use of an insect repellent that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency on any exposed skin. There are repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Avoid spraying applied directly to your skin. Children under 3 should not use products containing OLE or PMD.
  • Apply repellents to clothing. Sprays that contain permethrin are safe to use on clothing.
  • You can sleep under the net. Nets for bed, especially ones that are treated with insecticides like permethrin, can aid in preventing mosquito bites while asleep.

Preventive medicine

If you’re going to a place that is prone to malaria consult your physician several months in advance of time to determine if you should take medication prior to, during, or following your trip to safeguard you from malaria-related parasites.

The majority of the medicines used to treat it contain the exact ones that are used in treating the illness. What you use depends on the location and duration you’re traveling for as well as your health.

Vaccine for Malaria

The World Health Organization has recommended the use of a malaria vaccine by children who reside in areas with high rates of cases.

Researchers are working on developing and testing its vaccines to help prevent the infection.

Diagnosis

For malaria to be diagnosed the doctor will examine your medical history as well as recent travel, take an examination of your body, and request tests of blood. Tests for blood can reveal:

  • A parasite’s presence within the blood proves that you are suffering from it.
  • Which malaria parasite is causing your symptoms?
  • If the infection is the result of an organism that is resistant to certain medications
  • If the illness is creating any grave complications

Some blood tests require several days for completion however, others may give results in just 15 minutes. Based on your health issues the doctor may recommend additional diagnostic tests in order to identify potential issues.

Treatment

Malaria is treated using prescription medications to eliminate the parasite. The kind of medication and the duration of treatment may differ according to:

  • What kind of malaria parasite do you have?
  • The intensity of your symptoms
  • Your age
  • If you’re pregnant

Medicines

The most commonly used antimalarial medications are:

  • Chloroquine is a phosphate. Chloroquine is a preferred treatment for any parasite susceptible to this drug. In many areas around the globe, parasites have become resistant to chloroquine and chloroquine has become a non-effective treatment.
  • Combination therapies that are based on Artemisinin (ACTs). ACT is a blend consisting of two or three medicines that fight malaria parasites in various ways. This is usually the preferred treatment for chloroquine-resistant it. Examples include artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem) and artesunate-mefloquine.

Other antimalarial medications that are commonly used comprise:

  • Atovaquone-proguanil (Malarone)
  • Quinine Sulfate (Qualaquin) with Doxycycline (Oracea, Vibramycin, others)
  • Primaquine Phosphate

You are preparing for your appointment

If you think you may have malaria or have been exposed to it, you’ll likely begin by visiting your doctor or family. In some instances, when you contact your doctor to make your appointment with a doctor, you could be directed to an infection specialist. If you experience extreme symptoms, especially when you travel to an area where it is a common occurrence and you are experiencing severe symptoms, seek immediate medical treatment.

What can you do

Prior to your appointment, you may want to note down your answers to the questions below:

  • Are there any symptoms you are experiencing as well as when and how did these first appear?
  • Have you recently traveled to a new place?
  • How many days did you travel for and when did you get back?
  • Have you taken any medication to prevent your trip?
  • What other medicines do you use, including herbal remedies and supplements to your diet?

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