Malaria is a vector-borne infection, which occurs after a mosquito bite. It results due to the transmission of malarial parasites, known as Plasmodium. A female anopheles mosquito releases these parasites into the host body through a bite. After a few days, the person might develop the symptoms of malaria that are as follows:
Symptoms Of Malaria
Fever and chills
The bite of an infected mosquito causes the individuals to feel sick with a very high fever and experience shaking chills. These symptoms usually occur due to the invasion of parasites in the red blood cells. Moreover, They multiply inside and cause rupturing of the red blood cells.
The red blood cells count drops because of their damage, and this potentiates the risk of hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen. Due to the rupturing of the RBC, toxic substances get released. This gives rise to recurring chills and fever.
Headache is a common symptom of malaria. According to the National Institutes of Health website, a protein known as cytokine is an important factor that causes headaches during malaria. As per the Cleveland Clinic, Cytokine is a signaling protein that aids in controlling inflammation in the body. Besides, some antimalarial drugs can also contribute to headaches.
Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
These symptoms can develop along with abdominal pain and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Fatigue and tiredness
The malarial parasites lead to the destruction of the red blood cells, which lowers the oxygen capacity in the bloodstream. The red blood cells are the carriers of oxygen in the body. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs and supply it to all the tissues of the body. Its destruction causes anemia, which is a condition that is characterized by a lack of oxygen in the body. Lack of oxygen and anemia can leave the infected person feeling weak, drowsy, and fatigued.
Shortness of breath
The infection can make the individual breathe rapidly. According to the Mayo Clinic, in the case of cerebral malaria, red blood cells invaded by the parasites clog and block the passages of the small blood vessels to the brain. This can lead to swelling of the brain, which can cause damage. This happens mostly in cases of cerebral malaria. It gives rise to breathing problems, as the lungs get accumulated with fluids, which fill the air sacs and prevent the movement of oxygen in the bloodstream.
Rapid heart rate
Malaria patients experience an increase in heart rate. Some antimalarial medications can also contribute to the rise in the heart rate.
Feelings of discomfort
The flu-like symptoms of malaria, fatigue, weakness, and pain can lead to feelings of discomfort. The sense of discomfort remains for a long time until recovery, which is why adequate resting during treatment is necessary.
Muscle and joint pain
Moreover, The infection targets the skeletal muscle, which gives rise to the symptoms of muscle pain, weakness in joints, and joint aches.
Diagnosis of malaria
For performing a diagnostic test, your healthcare provider will conduct a physical examination and ask you several questions regarding your general health, medical history, travel history, symptoms, duration of symptoms, and things along those lines. They will suggest you get a blood test done, which will detect the presence of plasmodium parasites in the blood.
Blood test reports will also reveal the type of parasite that has led to the infection. Early diagnosis will prevent the infection from progressing and leading to life-threatening health complications. Based on the reports and evaluation, the treatment will be initiated.
Treatment of malaria
Moreover, The test reports and examination will help in confirming the presence of malarial parasites in the body and identifying the type of parasites that have caused the infection. There are four species of plasmodium parasites, they include – P. vivax, P. falciparum, P. malariae, P. ovale, and P. knowlesi. Out of these all, P. falciparum is the most life-threatening type, which can even lead to death within 72 hours, due to its rapid progression.
The healthcare provider will evaluate the treatment based on the diagnostic tests. Moreover, They will prescribe antimalarial medications specific to the type or species of malarial parasite. Antimalarial drugs will prevent the growth and multiplication of parasites in the body and prevent the damage of red blood cells.
Certain antimalarial drugs may fail to prevent the parasitic growth and multiplication, in such cases, your healthcare provider might prescribe some other drug in combination with the previous drug. Moreover, The power of two potent antimalarial drugs will inhibit the progression of infection.
Tips to prevent malaria
Malaria can be spread because of mosquito bites, sharing of needles and syringes with an infected person, organ transplantation, and blood transfusion. A mosquito bite is the top reason for malaria. When a female anopheles mosquito bites a person, it releases the parasites.
To avoid getting bitten by an infected mosquito, one must take the following steps:
- Before going out, apply or spray a mosquito repellent that is made using DEET (diethyltoluamide). It should be used on bare skin. It repels mosquitoes away.
- Mosquitoes are mostly active during the nighttime. Make use of a mosquito net in the nighttime. This will keep them away.
- Wear fully covered clothes. Long sleeves and full-length pants will prevent any mosquito bites and keep you safe.
- Apply permethrin-based spray on your clothes. This will repel the mosquitoes.
- If you have recently moved to a place that is mosquito prone, then you must take all the safety measures seriously. If you develop some symptoms of malaria, then see a doctor immediately.
- Be extra careful while visiting mosquito-prone areas.