Malaria is a parasite disease—the parasite is transmitted to humans via infected mosquito bites. Malaria sufferers generally feel very sick with high fever and shivering chills.

Although malaria is uncommon in temperate climates, it is still widespread in tropical and subtropical countries because there is no malaria vaccine. Every year, about 290 million individuals get malaria fever, and over 400,000 people die from the disease.

International health programs distribute preventive medicines and insecticide-treated bed nets to protect individuals from mosquito bites to minimize malaria infections. Some African nations are piloting partly effective vaccines, but there is no traveller vaccine.

Protective clothing, bed nets, and insecticides can help keep you safe while travelling. Preventive medication can be used before, during, and after a high-risk trip. Many malaria parasites have become resistant to common medications used for treating the condition.

What Causes Malaria?

Malaria is spread by an infected mosquito bite to humans. A mosquito gets infected by biting a malaria patient.

The infected Malaria mosquito delivers a parasite into the bloodstream of a human, where parasites multiply. Five types of malaria parasites can infect individuals.

In rare circumstances, women with malaria might spread the disease before or during birth to their infants. Malaria disease can very rarely be transmitted via organ donations, blood transfusions, and hypodermic needles.

Malaria is caused due to the parasite Plasmodium. The parasite may transmit to people via infected mosquito bites.

The plasmodium parasites have numerous varieties, but only five kinds cause human malaria.

These are as follows:

  • Plasmodium falciparum is the most common malaria parasite in Africa, causing the bulk of malaria deaths across the world.
  • Plasmodium vivax – this parasite has milder symptoms, mostly in Asia and South America, than Plasmodium falciparum. However, it can remain for up to three years in the liver, resulting in recurrence.
  • Plasmodium ovale- a rare parasite found mostly in West Africa, may survive in your liver for years without causing symptoms.
  • Plasmodium malaria – quite rare and usually found in Africa only.
  • Plasmodium knowlesi – extremely uncommon in parts of southeast Asia.

Symptoms of Malaria:

Doctors classify the symptoms of malaria into two categories: uncomplicated and severe malaria.

Uncomplicated Malaria:

  • A doctor would diagnose this if symptoms are present, but no symptoms imply severe infection or vital organ dysfunction.
  • This kind of malaria can become serious without treatment or if the individual has low or no immunity.
  • Symptoms of uncomplicated malaria generally last 6-10 hours and are recurring every second day.
  • As the symptoms are similar to flu, malaria is less common in regions where it may not be diagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Symptoms proceed as follows in uncomplicated malaria, in cold, hot, and sweating stages:

  • Chills feeling with shivering
  • Fever, headaches, vomiting
  • In younger persons with the illness, seizures can occur.
  • Sweat and tiredness, then a return to normal temperature.

Many individuals recognize the symptoms of malaria in places where malaria is widespread and treat the effects of malaria without seeing a doctor.

Severe malaria:

Clinical or laboratory data indicates signs of critical organ failure in severe malaria.

Severe malaria symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills
  • A lack of awareness
  • Prostration or prone position
  • Multiple seizures
  • Deep breathing and breathing distress
  • Irregular bleeding and anaemia signs
  • Clinical jaundice and indications of critical organ dysfunction.

Untreated severe malaria can be fatal.

When to Consult a Doctor?

People in a country (or area) known for malaria infection and who think a mosquito has bitten them, whether or not the symptoms of malaria have developed, should be given medications for malaria prevention by their doctor.

Anyone who plans to visit countries where malaria is widespread must see their doctor several weeks before travelling for anti-malaria medications that may protect against malaria development, even if bitten by a mosquito that carries parasites.

Your doctor will probably examine your medical history and recent travel, do a physical examination and prescribe blood tests to diagnose malaria. Blood tests can show:

  • What kind of malaria parasite causes your symptoms?
  • If a parasite resistant to certain drugs causes your infection.
  • When the illness creates serious complications.

Some blood tests may take many days; others may take less than 15 minutes to get results. Your doctor may prescribe further diagnostic tests to evaluate possible consequences, depending on your symptoms. You can buy your prescription from Wellness Forever.

Prevention Against Malaria:

If you live in or are travelling to areas where malaria is common, take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Protecting oneself against mosquito bites is the best way to prevent disease transmission. Additionally, the probability of severity differs by individual, based on their physical state and medical history. Here are some preventive steps you may take for the treatment and prevention of malaria.

  • Dress in protective long-sleeved clothes.
  • Insect repellents should be spray on exposed skin. The repellent suggested comprises between 20% and 35% N N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide.
  • Cover your bed with a mosquito net if your bedroom is not air-conditioned or screened. To increase safety, you can treat the mosquito net with permethrin.
  • When you go out, you can apply insect repellents on your exposed skin as well as your clothing. Thin clothes make it simple for mosquitoes to bite.
  • Keep your house and surroundings clean and free of junk and waste.
  • When it comes to disease control, keep an eye on signs like high-temperature fever. If you detect any likely signs of malaria, consult your doctor quickly.
  • Avoid leaving windows and doors open at night since mosquitoes become more active and pose a greater risk. You may either use a mosquito net or the other type of net to seal your window and then leave it open during the day.
  • Antimalarial tablets can be taken depending on the condition and prescription.
  • If you are a frequent sunscreen user, apply it first and then apply an insect repellent. Additionally, use sunscreen with an SPF of 30-50.
  • Follow the doctor’s prescriptions. It implies that you must follow the prescription and medications for two weeks if your doctor has prescribed a two-week Malaria treatment.
  • There is currently no over-the-counter malaria medication available. As a result, the only method to cure this condition effectively is to take all essential precautions and safety measures.

Vaccines for Malaria:

The MVIP was formed by the WHO to coordinate and support the pilot introduction via country-led routine vaccination of RTS, S/AS01 vaccines in certain parts of Africa. The program intended to address the remaining issues relating to the use of the first vaccine for malaria in public health. Specifically, the feasibility of administering the recommended four doses of the vaccine and the vaccine’s function in reducing childhood mortality and its safety in routine use.

The Pilot Introductions – launched in 2019 as a children vaccination – are led by the Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi Ministries of Health. MVIP data and insights inform the recommendation of the WHO vaccine on broader vaccine usage.

Conclusion:

Malaria is a common disease affecting an increasing number of individuals every day. Efforts to control malaria have not been very successful over the last two decades. Everybody must thus protect themselves and take necessary precautions to stay safe from the disease.

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