Malaria

Malaria is a health condition caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to humans by mosquito bites from infected female Anopheles mosquitos. Malaria is caused by five parasitic species, two of which P. falciparum and P. vivax – are the most dangerous to humans. The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is the deadliest and most common in the African continent. According to a report, India accounts for 3% of the worldwide malaria burden, resulting in 2 million confirmed cases per year. One may need to take medications before, during, and after the travel to lower the risk of contracting malaria.

Symptoms of Malaria

Symptoms of malaria generally show 10 to 4 weeks after the infection. Symptoms may not appear for several months in some circumstances. Malaria can cause the following symptoms:

  • Chills could range in severity from mild to severe
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • High fever
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia
  • Profuse sweating
  • Muscle pain
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stools
Symptoms of Malaria

When to see a doctor?

Given how rapidly malaria may turn deadly, it's essential to get medical help as soon as possible. Malaria cases are more likely to be severe in young children, newborns, and pregnant women.

If you have a high fever while living in or travelling to a malaria-prone area, seek medical attention. Even if the symptoms appear weeks, months, or even a year after your trip, people should seek medical attention.


Malaria Causes and Complications:

When a malaria-affected person gets bitten by a mosquito, the insect becomes infected. When a mosquito bites another person, it transmits a parasite into their blood circulation. The parasites proliferate there. Humans can be infected by five different kinds of malaria parasites. Malaria-infected pregnant women can pass the sickness on to their unborn offspring in rare circumstances. Malaria can be transmitted by blood transfusions, organ donations, and hypodermic needles, but this is unlikely.

Malaria Transmission

Complications -

Malaria may be lethal, especially when it is caused by plasmodium species that are common in Africa. Malaria deaths are frequently linked to one or more significant complications, such as: -

Cerebral malaria

Cerebral malaria occurs when parasite-filled blood cells block tiny blood arteries in the brain, resulting in brain swelling or damage. Seizures and coma are possible side effects of cerebral malaria.

Breathing problems

Fluid buildup in the lungs (pulmonary oedema) can make it difficult to breathe.

Organ failure

Malaria can induce organ failure by causing damage to the kidneys, liver, and spleen, as well as causing the spleen to burst. Any of these disorders can put their life in jeopardy.

Anaemia

Malaria can cause anaemia, which means people don't have enough red blood cells to get enough oxygen to the body's tissues (anaemia).

Low blood sugar

Severe types of malaria, as well as quinine, a major malaria treatment, can produce low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar levels might lead to unconsciousness or death.

Prevention -

Malaria may be prevented in many cases. The ABCD method to prevention is a simple way to remember -

Awareness of Risk

Before travelling, find out if you're at risk of contracting malaria.

Bite Prevention

Use insect repellent, cover your arms and legs, and use an insecticide-treated mosquito net to avoid mosquito bites.

Check if malaria prevention medications are required

Make sure you have the proper antimalarial tablets at the right dose and finish the course.

Diagnosis

Seek medical help right away if you develop malaria symptoms.


Diagnosis

The doctor will most likely evaluate the patient medical history and recent travel, do a physical exam, and prescribe blood tests to detect malaria.

Blood testing can reveal the following:

  • The presence of the parasite in the blood can be used to determine whether or not you have malaria.
  • What type of malaria parasite are you infected with?
  • If the infection is caused by a parasite that is drug-resistant.
  • Whether the condition is creating any major side effects.

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may request further diagnostic tests to examine potential problems.


Malaria treatment

The treatment your doctor recommends will depend on things like

  • The type of parasite you have and the severity of your symptoms will all affect the treatment the doctor advises.
  • Where did patients get infected?
  • The age, and whether or not one is expecting a child.

Doctors use a variety of medications to treat malaria that including

Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine

If the symptoms aren't significant and you live in an area where the parasite hasn't developed resistance to chloroquine, the doctor may offer one of these medications.

Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT)

This is a combination of two drugs that function in separate ways. They're used to treat milder instances of malaria or as part of a more comprehensive treatment strategy for more serious cases.

Atovaquone-proguanil, artemether-lumefantrine:

These combinations offer another possibility in areas where the parasite has developed resistance to chloroquine. They can also be given to kids.

Mefloquine:

If chloroquine isn't possible, this medicine has been associated with uncommon but substantial negative effects on the brain and should only be taken as a last resort.

Artesunate:

If the symptoms are severe, the doctor may consider using this medicine for the first 24 hours and then switching to artemisinin-based combination therapy for the next three days.


Lifestyle changes and Self Care

This mosquito-borne disease has no special dietary requirements. The correct meals, on the other hand, can help you fight malaria more effectively by boosting your immune system. When you have malaria, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Here are some dietary adjustments that could assist you in better managing malaria:

Increase the carbohydrate intake

When a person has an ailment, such as malaria, people are likely to have low energy levels. Carbohydrates help you feel more energised. Rice is also preferable over wheat and millets since it is easy on the stomach.

Have a lot of vitamins

A increasing evidence shows that fruits and vegetables high in vitamins A and C can help malaria patients increase their immunity. Malaria sufferers benefit greatly from fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, carrots, papaya, grapes, berries, lemons, and oranges are all excellent choices.

Take plenty of fluids

Malaria patients frequently experience a loss of appetite. If you don't like solid foods, fluids can be your saviour. They'll keep you hydrated as well. Your go-to beverages might include glucose water, fresh fruit juices, coconut water, and electoral water. They will also assist in the removal of toxins from your body.

Include more proteins in your meals

A high-protein diet improves the activity of your immune cells and aids in the battle against malaria parasites. Make fish stew, chicken soup, eggs, and pulses a regular part of your diet. Buttermilk and curd will also help.

Avoid these foods

Foods high in fat, especially dairy products, should be avoided as They're not going to be easy on the stomach. When you have malaria, you should also avoid deep-fried and spicy meals. Chips, pastries, sauces, pickles, and caffeinated beverages should be avoided.


Dos and Don’ts

Malaria in adults, infants, and youngsters is curable and manageable if they get the necessary treatment on time. However, following the prescribed dos and don'ts can help you avoid the disease's negative consequences. Some guidelines are as follows:

Do’s Don’ts
Apply mosquito repellents frequently. Travel to areas with a malaria outbreak.
Use mosquito nets over the bed. Ignore the symptoms indicating malaria.
Eat healthy meals and stay hydrated. Eat fatty, spicy foods during malaria.
Include protein in your daily meals. Eat high fibre foods and caffeinated drinks during malaria.

Malaria is not a fatal condition if caught and treated early. By following precautions, we can avoid its serious repercussions.


Malaria Care at Medicover Hospitals

At Medicover, we have the best team of general physicians and specialists who provide Malaria treatment with utmost precision. Our skilled physicians are equipped with the best diagnostic tools and techniques to perform tests, diagnose, and treat malaria and its conditions for adults and infants. For treating Malaria, our doctors work closely with the patients to monitor their condition and treatment progress for faster and sustained recovery..

Citations

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/malaria/
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malaria#:~:text=Malaria%20is%20a%20life%2Dthreatening,at%20627%20000%20in%202020.
https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/malaria/index.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaria

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