HEALTH

Malaria: Symptoms, Causes, And Preventions

A brief guide about symptoms causes and prevention of malaria
Written by Ragini Salampure

Malaria is very uncommon in the US as it annually reports less than 20,000 cases per year. Though anyone in the US is less likely to get malaria, however, the chances are higher if someone travels to developing countries. Malaria is very common in developing countries because of the warm climate. 

Malaria is also referred to as plasmodium infection. Plasmodium is the parasite that causes malaria. The mode of transmission is female mosquito Anopheles. These mosquitos are actually the carrier of the parasite and transfer it to the human body. Malaria does not spread from one person to the other. Usually, it spreads with the mosquito’s bite. 

Symptoms Of Malaria

In case of early diagnosis, malaria can be kept under control with the help of medication. However, it may prove life-threatening if it is not screened early. In countries where resources are limited, quite a large number of people die because of malaria. Common symptoms of malaria are 

  • Repeated fever with chills
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle pain 
  • Some degree of liver dysfunction
  • Signs of anaemia

Symptoms usually appear a week after the transmission of the parasite into the body; as soon as the symptoms become evident, contact your physician right away. Immediate medical attention and treatment can help to ease out symptoms of malaria. In case of any delay, the results can be fatal.

Causes Of Malaria

As discussed earlier, the malaria-causing plasmodium is transmitted to the human body with the bite of the female mosquito Anopheles. There are five types of plasmodium that are known to affect the human body. Factors such as humid conditions and ambient temperature are the optimum conditions for the successful development of the parasite in the mosquito.

Possible Complication Associated With Malaria

In severe cases, malaria may result in fatal complications. If the condition gets worse than these complications are likely to occur.

  • It may cause damage to brain vessels, causing them to swell. This condition is also known as cerebral malaria.
  • Accumulation or build-up of fluid in the lungs which affects breathing, also known as pulmonary edema.
  • In adverse cases, it might possibly also result in organ failure. Liver, spleen, and kidney failures are the most common.
  • Excessive damage to red blood cells may give rise to symptoms of anaemia. 

How Alcohol Interacts With Malaria

Alcohol has no direct connection with malaria. However, addiction to alcohol and alcoholic products significantly suppresses the body’s immunity. With reduced immunity, a person is more vulnerable to diseases causing parasites such as plasmodium. In case of an encounter with such a disease, a person is at greater risk of developing more health complications.

It is therefore essential to get the right treatment to address the problem of alcohol addiction. Nowadays, rehab centers are made at a beautiful location and with a number of facilities to facilitate patients in every possible way. For instance, one may find exotic rehab centers located in the forest of Mississippi, which is connected to many nearby towns.

Preventive Measures

Taking few preventive measures can help to avoid an encounter with such a disease. Basically, there are two main ways to prevent malaria, which are as following:

  • Vaccination

Though there is one accepted vaccine in Europe for malaria, there is no licensed vaccine available in the US. The experts are still working to find the vaccination for malaria. It is always a better option to immediately seek out medical attention as soon as the symptoms begin to appear. 

  • Advice For Travellers

  • Travellers are at a higher risk of developing this parasitic infection, especially if you are planning a trip to a place with humid and warm temperatures. Even during early diagnosis, doctors do inquire about the recent trip to such destinations. It is therefore crucial for travellers to take certain preventive measures.
  • The center for Disease control suggests certain preventive measures. For those who are traveling from the US anywhere around the world, taking precautionary measures will defiantly reduce the risk of coming across this parasitic infection. Those preventive measures are as follows.
  • A little research about the destination: research in terms of malarial risk in that country and, more specifically, in that area is essential. 
  • Prior consultation with a doctor. Ask your doctor about medication that might help in the prevention of parasitic infection in the region you are traveling.
  • Keeping malarial medication with you is also essential. It might prove useful in case if you encounter any malarial symptoms.
  • Before planning any trip, it is very important to consider individual risk factors for travellers; for instance, a traveller might possibly be a child, a pregnant woman, an older person, or a person with a medical condition.
  • Make sure to purchase necessary preventive tools such as bed nets, proper clothes, insect repellents, and insecticides.
  • Get necessary information about malaria symptoms and ways to deal with initial symptoms.
  • Travellers should rule out the chances of mosquito bites by taking certain measures such as booking an air-conditioned room, avoiding camping around standing water and keeping the body covered with clothes during the time mosquitoes are around. 
  • You may also possibly reduce the risk of the parasite spreading by avoiding donating blood right after travel. 

How Is It Diagnosed?

Basically, based on bodily symptoms, a doctor may ask you to go through a blood test. The microscopic analysis of blood is usually used in order to figure out the presence of plasmodium in the blood.

Take Away

Malaria is a mosquito-driven parasitic infection. If not handled properly, it can lead to severe complications. After taking all precautionary steps, the risk may get reduced, but still, you are at risk of developing malaria. The health experts recommend seeking out medical help from local health centers to avoid complications. Besides, knowledge about symptoms and preventive measures is essential for early diagnosis and to avoid it while traveling to places with hot climates.  

About the author

Ragini Salampure

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