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Malaria

Malaria is an  infectious disease caused by parasites called plasmodium, that are transmitted from sick(infected) person to other via the bites of infected(mostly female anopheles) mosquitoes. Malaria is epidemically present in Asian and African countries and is responsible for millions of deaths in those countries. Malaria is also prevalent in Eastern Europe and south pacific areas.

The types of malarial parasites that can infect humans are

  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • P. vivax,
  • P. ovale
  • P. malariae.

Malaria caused by P falciparum can be fatal if properly not treated on time.

Causes and Spread of Malaria

Malaria is mainly caused by the biting of the infected mosquitoes (infected mosquitoes transmits the parasites in to human blood).  In addition to this, a person can acquire  malarial infection through infected blood transfusion or prick by contaminated needles or syringes. A pregnant mother can transfer malaria to her baby.

Symptoms and signs of Malaria

Usually patient develops symptoms of malaria between 10 to 15 days post mosquito bite. The classical malarial symptoms include severe chill, shivering of body followed by high grade fever and at the last there can be profuse sweating. The patient may experience headache, body ache and fatigue- extreme weakness. There can be associated nausea and vomiting also.

Complications of Malaria

  • Patient may develop anemia and jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes).
  • Generally malaria is a curable disease if diagnosed on time and treated correctly. However, the P.falciparum type of malaria if not treated on time can lead to complication including kidney failure, seizures and mental confusion, coma and in some cases death.
  • The relapsing attack of malarial symptoms is common in P. Vivax and P. Ovale  type of parasitic infection, as they remain dormant in the liver for several months and become active after some time causing symptoms of malaria.

Diagnosis of Malaria

The health care provider takes the history and checks for the signs, symptoms of malaria. In the suspected cases blood test is advised to confirm the diagnosis of Malaria.

Treatment of Malaria

Anti-malarial medications and symptomatic treatment are given to the patient. In severe cases hospitalization is needed.

Prevention of Malaria

People can protect themselves from malaria by knowing the ABCD of malaria as follows

Awareness: know about the risk, incubation period and symptoms of malaria

Bites: Avoid mosquito bites especially between dusk and down. Use insecticide and mosquito repellents at home; apply protective lotions over exposed parts while going out and use insecticide- treated bed nets.

Chemoprophylaxis: Take anti-malarial medication as a prophylaxis to suppress infection under the health care provider guidance. The medicines do not prevent initial infection caused by a mosquito bite; however, they prevent the development of malaria parasites in the blood that causes the disease.

Diagnosis: Consult health care provider immediately if you develop symptoms like malaria while visiting an area with higher malarial risk.

 

Health Tips

Mix equal amounts of Cucumber juice and Lime juice and apply them to your face before taking bath; wait for at least 10 mins. Your complexion will improve.

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