Malaria: Overview, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
Malaria: Overview, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention. Malaria is a serious and life-threatening infectious disease which is spread by the bite of Anopheles mosquito.When an infected mosquito bites an individual, it transmits infected parasite into human blood and this parasite multiplies in our liver cells and then attacks and damages red blood cells.It is very common in developing countries of Asia, Africa, and America.It can be easily treated and controlled with early diagnosis and management. This article will discuss the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of malaria.
Although relatively uncommon in developed countries, where the disease occurs mainly in travelers who have returned from endemic regions, it remains one of the most prevalent infections of humans worldwide. Once endemic in the United States and Canada, it is now confined to more tropical and subtropical climates, particularly Africa. Despite advances in knowledge, malaria continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide.
There is no vaccine for malaria because malaria parasites have a complex life cycle, and there is a poor understanding of the complex immune response to malaria infection. Malaria parasites are also genetically complex. Unlike the diseases for which we currently have effective vaccines, exposure to malaria parasites does not confer lifelong protection. Acquired immunity only partially protects against future disease, and malaria infection can persist for months without symptoms of the disease.
Malaria can be fatal. Exact numbers are unknown, but an estimated 300 to 500 million cases and 1.5 to 2.7 million deaths occur each year.
Symptoms of Malaria
- The symptoms of malaria usually develop within 7-14 days.
- High-grade fever especially at night
- Rigors and chills
- Night sweats
- Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
- A headache
- Bloody stools
- Enlarged spleen and liver
- Blood pressure issues
Diagnosis of Malaria
Your primary health physician will be able to effectively diagnose malaria. Your doctor will make a diagnosis of malaria on the basis of a detailed medical history of your symptoms, complete physical examination of your body and some relevant laboratory results. The most accurate diagnosis of malaria is made on the basis of microscopic visualization of malarial parasite in your blood. Today, a rapid diagnostic test and PCR are also very accurate tests for malaria diagnosis.
Treatment of Malaria
Treatment of malaria is usually given in hospitals and healthcare centers. Your doctor will give you appropriate medicine on the basis of results of your lab investigations.The effective malaria treatment consists of treating both the disease and its effects on the body.Some of the common drugs used for malaria treatment are:
- Anemia is treated by giving iron infusions or iron tablets.
- Fever is managed by antipyretic medications.
Natural Treatment for Malasia
Artemisia has been used in China for centuries to treat malaria. Ginger is also used to treat malaria. Ginger strengthens the immune system and it aids in the recovery. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.
Standardized Holy Basil Extract has been used for centuries to treat malaria to help eliminate the infection.
Prevention of Malaria
According to Pubmed, “Malaria in travelers is preventable. No prophylactic regimen is 100% effective, however, and travelers must be told to seek medical attention immediately if they experience fever during or after travel, especially within the first 2 months after returning home. Travelers should avoid outdoor activity after dusk to reduce exposure to night-biting Anopheles mosquitoes. All travelers to malaria-endemic areas, including expatriates of such areas, should receive pretravel counseling from a qualified health care provider or travel medicine center”.
If you are suspecting that you are having above mentioned clinical symptoms, then visit your nearby doctor as soon as possible.
My name is Phyllis Robinson MSN, RN. I have been a Registered Nurse for 27 years in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. I am passionate about cardiac care and heart disease. I also want this blog to be an educational tool that people can refer to for traditional and alternative treatment. I will blog on heart disorders such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and high cholesterol.
I received my Nursing degree from Baltimore Community College.
I went on to receive my Masters in Nursing from Walden University
I have worked for almost 30 years in Critical Care with a focus on heart health. I am an advocate of preventive healthcare.