Malaria Symptoms, Signs, Checklist & Treatment - Health Pick

Malaria – Symptoms that read you chances for cure!

Malaria Symptoms

Malaria Symptoms: You do not respond to a mosquito bite with a hammer. But this is time to hammer the disease these tiger mosquitoes set in.

While the disease is uncommon in temperate climates, malaria is still common in tropical and subtropical countries. World health officials are trying to reduce the incidence of malaria by distributing bed nets to help protect people from mosquito bites as they sleep.

Scientists around the world are working to develop a vaccine to prevent malaria. Though, a vaccine that is used to prevent malaria is approved vaccine as of 2015 is RTS, S, known by the trade name Mosquirix. It requires four injections and has relatively low efficacy.

  • If you’re travelling to locations where malaria is common, take steps to prevent mosquito bites by wearing protective clothing, using insect repellents and sleeping under treated mosquito nets.
  • Depending on the area you are visiting and your individual risk factors for infection, you may also want to take preventive medicine before, during and after your trip.
  • Many malaria parasites are now resistant to the most common drugs used to treat the disease.
Malaria infection is generally characterized by the following signs and symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle pain and fatigue

Other signs and symptoms may include:
  • Sweating
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Cough

Some people who have malaria experience cycles of malaria “attacks.” An attack usually starts with shivering and chills, followed by a high fever, followed by sweating and a return to normal temperature.

Malaria signs and symptoms typically begin within a few weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. However, some types of malaria parasites can lie dormant in your body for up to a year.

Also Read: DENGUE SYMPTOMS – TACKLE THEM NOW!
When to see a doctor

Talk to your doctor if you experience a fever while living in or after travelling to a high-risk malaria region. The parasites that cause malaria can lie dormant in your body for up to a year. If you have severe symptoms, seek emergency medical attention.

 

Mosquito transmission cycle

Uninfected mosquito. A mosquito becomes infected by feeding on a person who has malaria.

  • Transmission of the parasite. If this mosquito bites you in the future, it can transmit malaria parasites to you.
  • In the liver. Once the parasites enter your body, they travel to your liver — where some types can lie dormant for as long as a year.
  • Into the bloodstream. When the parasites mature, they leave the liver and infect your red blood cells. This is when people typically develop malaria symptoms.
  • On to the next person. If an uninfected mosquito bites you at this point in the cycle, it will become infected with your malaria parasites and can spread them to the other people it bites.

 

Other modes of transmission

Because the parasites that cause malaria affect red blood cells, people can also catch malaria from exposure to infected blood, including:

  • From mother to unborn child
  • Through blood transfusions
  • By sharing needles used to inject drugs

 

Risk factors

The biggest risk factor for developing malaria is to live in or to visit areas where the disease is common. There are many different varieties of malaria parasites. The variety that causes the most serious complications is most commonly found in:

  • African countries south of the Sahara Desert
  • The Asian subcontinent
  • New Guinea, the Dominican Republic and Haiti

Risks of more-severe disease

People at increased risk of serious disease include:

  • Young children and infants
  • Older adults
  • Travellers coming from areas with no malaria
  • Pregnant women and their unborn children

Poverty, lack of knowledge, and little or no access to health care also contribute to malaria deaths worldwide.

 

Immunity can wane

Residents of a malaria region may be exposed to the disease so frequently that they acquire a partial immunity, which can lessen the severity of malaria symptoms. However, this partial immunity can disappear if you move to a country where you’re no longer frequently exposed to the parasite.

 

Complications

Malaria can be fatal, particularly malaria caused by the variety of parasite that’s common in tropical parts of Africa. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 91 per cent of all malaria deaths occur in Africa — most commonly in children under the age of 5.

 

In most cases, malaria deaths are related to one or more serious complications, including:

  • Cerebral malaria. If parasite-filled blood cells block small blood vessels to your brain (cerebral malaria), swelling of your brain or brain damage may occur. Cerebral malaria may cause seizures and coma.
  • Breathing problems. Accumulated fluid in your lungs (pulmonary edema) can make it difficult to breathe.
  • Organ failure. Malaria can cause your kidneys or liver to fail, or your spleen to rupture. Any of these conditions can be life-threatening.
  • Malaria damages red blood cells, which can result in anaemia.
  • Low blood sugar. Severe forms of malaria itself can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), as can quinine — one of the most common medications used to combat malaria. Very low blood sugar can result in coma or death.

 

Malaria may recur

Some varieties of the malaria parasite, which typically cause milder forms of the disease, can persist for years and cause relapses.

Prevention

If you live in or are travelling to an area where malaria is common, take steps to avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. To protect yourself from mosquito bites, you should:

 

Cover your skin. Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Apply insect repellent to skin and clothing. Sprays containing DEET can be used on skin and sprays containing permethrin are safe to apply to clothing.
  • Sleep under a net. Bed nets, particularly those treated with insecticide, help prevent mosquito bites while you are sleeping.

 

Preventive medicine

If you’re going to be travelling to a location where malaria is common, talk to your doctor a few months ahead of time about whether you should take drugs before, during and after your trip to help protect you from malaria parasites.

In general, the drugs taken to prevent malaria are the same drugs used to treat the disease. Your doctor needs to know when and where you’ll be travelling so that he or she can help you evaluate your risk for infection and, if necessary, prescribe the drug that will work best on the type of malaria parasite most commonly found in that region.

 

No vaccine yet

Scientists around the world are trying to develop a safe and effective vaccine for malaria. As of yet, however, there is still no malaria vaccine approved for human use.

WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030

The WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 – adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2015 – provides a technical framework for all malaria-endemic countries.

It is intended to guide and support regional and country programmes as they work towards malaria control and elimination.

The Strategy sets ambitious but achievable global targets, including:

  • Reducing malaria case incidence by at least 90% by 2030.
  • Reducing malaria mortality rates by at least 90% by 2030.
  • Eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries by 2030.
  • Preventing a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.

 

This Strategy was the result of an extensive consultative process that spanned 2 years and involved the participation of more than 400 technical experts from 70 Member States.

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