Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is spread by the Anopheles mosquito. This mosquito is often found in hot and humid areas, and while biting a human injects the Plasmodium parasite into their bloodstream which grows in the liver. After maturing they attack the red blood cells and cause them to rupture. If left untreated, Malaria can lead to problems like brain damage, organ failure, and even death. Here’s everything you need to know about Malaria and how to be safe.
What causes Malaria?
Malaria is a serious disease that needs professional medical care or else it can lead to life-threatening conditions. The Anopheles mosquito is the carrier of the parasite referred to as Plasmodium, This parasite is injected into the bloodstream when the mosquito bites a healthy individual.
The parasite makes its way to the liver and remains dormant until it matures. After it matures, the parasite reenters the bloodstream and starts infecting red blood cells and making them rupture. This reduces the number of healthy blood cells in the body which leads to anaemia, a drop in blood sugar, and the shutting down of vital organs.
What are the symptoms of Malaria?
The symptoms of malaria can surface after around 10 days and may also take up to 4 weeks to become noticeable. There are also cases where the parasite remains dominant for months without showing any symptoms.
The major symptoms of malaria resemble the symptoms of the common cold which include the following
– Head and body aches
– Extreme fatigue
– Problem with breathing and chest pain
– Nausea and vomiting
As the disease progresses, it can cause problems like anaemia and jaundice. The last stage of malaria causes one to go into a coma and is referred to as cerebral malaria.
How is Malaria diagnosed?
The healthcare provider will perform a history check and ask about one’s travel history. The doctor will also perform a physical examination to check for any case of enlarged spleen or liver. Further blood tests may follow which can help confirm if one has malaria or not. The blood test can also help in identifying the type of malaria, and the current stage of the disease.
Method of treatment of Malaria
The treatment for Malaria should be started as soon as it is diagnosed to avoid life-threatening complications. Medicines will be given to kill the parasite which is combined with other drugs, in case the parasite is immune to malaria drugs.
The most popularly used medications include Artemisinin drugs, Atovaquone, Chloroquine, Quinine, etc.
Methods of prevention of Malaria
One must talk to their health provider before travelling to a malaria-prone area for effective protection. One may be required to take anti-malaria medication during the stay. One should also take the following precautions to minimize the risk of getting infected with malaria.
– Apply mosquito repellent on parts of the skin that are exposed.
– Use mosquito nets while sleeping
– Wear full sleeves to minimize the risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes
If one still develops the symptoms despite taking all the precautions, they should approach medical help as soon as possible to make sure the disease is treated without much trouble.
Word of advice for people having Malaria
With proper medication, Malaria can be treated easily and the infection can be completely removed from the body. It takes around 2 weeks for a person to become healthy.