Malaria is a potentially fatal disease caused by a parasite that infects people through a specific type of mosquito. These are called Anopheles – female mosquitoes are the only type of mosquitoes that cause malaria to be spread among animals and humans.
Malaria is a very severe illness and once symptoms present themselves, the recommendation is to go straight to the hospital and get treated within the first few hours. If not treated urgently the disease can spread to the vital organs. Symptoms will begin within 10 days to four weeks. The symptoms of malaria can be issues such as:
- High fevers
- A general feeling of discomfort
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle or joint pain
- malaria episodes
Some of the first signs of malaria are high temperature, sweats and chills. Although these are common symptoms for a lot of illnesses and common diseases it is worth phoning a hospital or local doctors and organising to see them. Even if it’s not malaria, it can maybe help spot another illness. However, if malaria is diagnosed, then the doctor can treat it more effectively.
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Causes of malaria
The causes of malaria can differentiate but the chain of infection starts with the mosquito biting the person. Other causes can be :
- The disease is passed from mother to unborn child
- Through blood transfusions
The causes stem from red blood cells and anything that has gone from one bloodline to another. A country where malaria is at a very high risk of infection, such as Nigeria (where the mortality rate is 31.9%), is where you will need to take serious precautions to reduce the possible infection and development of malaria. If you don’t feel your usual self and have seen a bite on your arm or any exposed skin then you need to phone a doctor urgently to get a checkup just to catch it early if you’ve been infected, only go if you see signs of malaria as you don’t want to waste any time with doctors.
Treatment for malaria:
Malaria kills over 400,000 people a year in such sub-tropical countries as South Asia, Africa and Latin America. In these lower-income countries (LIC) the well-being of the population is very low due to the investment in its medical facilities, meaning that some of the major European countries that allow travel to those certain high-risk areas, will provide malaria prevention tablets at £3.90 if needed. However, the best treatment option for malaria within the UK would be Chloroquine phosphate. Chloroquine is the preferred treatment for any parasite that is sensitive to the drug. These should be prescribed to you once you or your doctor begins to see the signs of malaria within your body so they can catch and treat it early so the chance of mortality is low.
Malaria does not permanently disappear, as episodes can occur repeatedly over coming years if it is not treated as it should be, these episodes contain issues such as severe sweats and chills and shivering and headaches.
The most effective antibiotic that can hold up and treat malaria is called doxycycline. There are two equally effective types; doxycycline hyclate and doxycycline monohydrate. It is available in tablets, capsules, and an oral liquid formulation. Doxycycline can be persisted by itself for the treatment of malaria or in combination with another medicine for the treatment of malaria. However pregnant women or people with severe illnesses may need to speak to their local GP to make sure that the doxycycline doesn’t affect any other issues or the baby they are carrying.
Countries with the highest infection and mortality rates that you may need to be wary of and take the right medicine when or if visiting them are :
- Dominican Republic, Haiti and other areas in the Caribbean.
- Eastern Europe.
- South Asia.
- Islands in the Central and South Pacific Ocean (Oceania).
- Latin America
Malaria in adults and children:
Although adults can contract malaria, the signs of malaria are much clearer in children as 90% of all malaria deaths occur in Africa and are among children. This is because children, in general, haven’t fully developed their immune systems. Especially in these lower-income countries, children don’t get the right vitamins and minerals to develop so when they contract an illness like malaria it becomes much more severe than in adults, who have a more developed immune system which allows them to have a little bit more strength in their white blood cells. However, this doesn’t mean that adults can’t or won’t get severe cases of malaria as adults can still suffer severely from it.
Adults will get malaria with the typical symptoms of chills and high temperature and a feeling of fatigue, when it develops they will begin to feel more muscle pain and nausea regularly.
Whereas, children will get a feeling early on in the stages of malaria of irritability, drowsiness, poor appetite and trouble sleeping. The trouble sleeping and poor appetite will cause them to be much more vulnerable to the effects of malaria and they will be affected much more, especially with the weaker undeveloped immune system. Their body won’t get the right rest and recovery process it needs to also fight off the illness and over time the symptoms will develop a lot worse. So parents, before going to countries with a high risk of malaria, health check your children.
Precautions needed to prevent the infection of malaria:
There are certain precautions that people will need to take when visiting a country to reduce the risk of infection. One of them is by applying mosquito repellent to exposed skin. Conversely, with that, you may want to wear long sleeves and bottoms to reduce the amount of exposed skin there is but this isn’t likely to happen because all of the counties that are high risk are very warm and humid so you wouldn’t enjoy being so hot and sweaty. Another one is applying drape mosquito netting over beds and covering windows and doors with screens to stop the insects from getting in. Finally, you may want to spray over your tent or clothes or sleeping bag with an insect repellent called permethrin, if you’re not staying in a tent but in safe covered housing like a flat or a house then you won’t need the spray but the nets may be necessary.
Summary of article
Malaria is one of the most feared viruses on the planet due to its deadly symptoms and how it can deteriorate your body over time, but if caught early and treated right then it will go with ease. Now you know how to catch Malaria early and what the signs of malaria are and also how to prevent and reduce the risk of being infected with the virus.