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Comprehensive Guide on Malaria With Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Home Remedies

Last Updated: Jan 05, 2022

What is Malaria?

Malaria is more of a life-threatening disease and it is typically transmitted if the infected Anopheles mosquito bites the person. These infected mosquitoes have a parasite named as Plasmodium parasite and it gets released with the bite into the bloodstream of the person. When the parasites reach the bloodstream, it directly travels to the liver where it multiplies and matures. After maturing it starts destroying the red blood cells.

After few days, the mature parasites make in entry to the bloodstream and start infecting red blood cells. Within 48 to 72 hours, the parasites present in the red blood cells start multiplying further causing the infected cells to open up. The parasites continue to infect the rest of the cells which will result in symptoms of malaria. Due to the infection, the person starts to feel uneasiness, gets fever with chills and sweating, vomiting etc.

In severe cases the patient may get convulsions and periodic fever chills. Early diagnosis and treatment can cure the patient from malaria.

But if the disease is left untreated then it can be a life-threatening disease. This disease typically infects the people who live in a tropical and subtropical climate where the parasites are expected to live.

The WHO states that there are around 216 million cases of Malaria present in 91 countries. Today there are medicines and vaccination that help in combating this disease.

What are the 5 types of Malaria?

Plasmodium falciparum is the species that accounts for a large number of global Malaria deaths. In sub-Saharan Africa, it is the most common species of Malaria. However other species are not generally as dangerous as P. falciparum.

The second most widespread species is Plasmodium vivax. It is mostly found in the regions of Southeast Asia and Latin America. The third species Plasmodium ovale is responsible for dormant liver stages that can be reawakened in the absence of a mosquito bite, resulting in clinical signs.

P.ovale along with Plasmodium Malaria causes a lesser number of infections as compared to the other species. Plasmodium knowlesi is the fifth species that is accountable for spreading human Malaria. But the transmission mode is yet not clear.

Summary: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium knowlesi are the five types of Malaria. The transmission mode and severity of Malaria differ from each other.

Is Malaria a virus or bacteria?

Malaria can not be categorized as a virus or bacteria. It means it is not caused by any virus or bacteria. Instead, Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

Summary: Malaria is neither a virus nor a bacteria. It is in fact, caused by a parasite called Plasmodium.

How long does Malaria stay in your body?

According to recently conducted research Malaria can survive for months in your body and that too without showing any sign or symptom. This is the deadliest or life-threatening Malarial parasite. Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for keeping the mechanism of Malaria inside the human body’s bloodstream for over six months without provoking the immune system.

Summary: Malaria has a tendency to survive for months in your body without even provoking the immune system.

What are the Symptoms of Malaria?

The symptoms of malaria are expected to develop within 10 days to 1 month after the infection has been initiated. In certain cases, the symptoms may not be evident for several months. There are certain parasites that release this disease that can enter the body and stay dormant for a longer period of time. The common symptoms of malaria include high fever, shivering, sweating, feeling nauseous and anemic, experiencing pain in the muscles and abdomen.

In extreme cases, the patient could experience bloody stools and even coma. The symptoms of malaria are not unique which is why most of the patients might misunderstand it for a regular fever or nauseousness. Especially for women who are pregnant, it is advisable to visit the doctor in case of extreme pain or continuous symptoms as discussed above.

In some cases malaria is associated with diseases like jaundice and thus the patient may have symptoms like pale skin, yellowishness in eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting, loose stools etc.

Which body part does Malaria affect the most?

Lungs are most significantly affected by severe Malaria. Usually, lung problems emerge in more than 20 percent of adult cases. Apart from lung, Malaria can lead to organ failures. In short, it can put life in danger if not cured on time.

Summary: The most significant part of the body affected by Malaria is the lungs. In some cases, it can even lead to organ failure.

Can Malaria be transmitted through sperm?

It is totally a myth. Malaria is a tropical mosquito-borne infection. It can’t be transmitted through sperm. There are, however, several health infections associated with Malaria as it can damage the organs completely if not treated on time. It affects zillions of people around the world. The mosquitoes are typically known as night-biting. If a mosquito bites a Malaria-infected person then there are high chances that it can spread the infection to the other person as well.

What are the Main Causes of Malaria?

Malaria is a blood disease that is caused by a female mosquito called Anopheles mosquitoes. In this case, the mosquito has been infected with a parasite called Plasmodium. There are four different kinds of malarial parasites that may impact humans badly: Plasmodium vivax, P. Ovale, P. Malariae, and P. falciparum. P. Falciparumis the most severe and risky form of diseases among the four. When the person comes into contact with this form of malaria, then the person is prone to the risk of death.

If pregnant women are infected with this disease, then there are high chances that this will be easily passed on to the baby at birth itself. This is termed as congenital malaria. Apart from this, Malaria can be transmitted even by blood. If blood is the cause, then it could have been transferred during an organ transplant, the use of needles or syringes that have already been in used by another or a transfusion.

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What Precaution Should be Taken to Avoid Malaria?

One major precaution that should be taken to avoid Malaria is to keep the water storage and environment clean around the house. Mosquito bites must be prevented and anything that will cause the gathering of mosquitoes at one place must be cleaned out. Mostly, people fail to properly close the water storage within the house or keep the dishes uncleaned for a long while.

Keeping the house dirty means inviting malaria and other deadly diseases that the parasites might bring. If any symptom is being detected, then it is advisable to visit the doctor before taking out home remedies without understanding.

How Do You Do the Rapid Diagnostic Test for Malaria?

The doctor will be able to diagnose malaria with the help of blood tests. During the appointment, the doctor will initially review the health history to understand if there is any lead. The doctor might also ask if the patient has traveled to any tropical regions recently. A physical examination is further performed. The diagnosis is generally done through the help of a blood test. The general blood test shall examine the presence of the antigens and parasites through microscopy. But Rapid Diagnostic Tests are an alternative to diagnosis based on clinical grounds or microscopy, particularly where good quality microscopy services cannot be readily provided.

The Rapid Diagnostic test will start by taking the blood sample of the patient and mixing it with a lysing agent in a test strip. This will rupture the red blood cells and further releases the parasite protein. This is mixed with labelled antibody and then and the blood and buffer are drawn up the stripped across the boundary lines of the antibody. In the presence of antigen, the antibody-antigen Complex will be trapped and accumulated. The intensity of the test band varies with the amount of antigen present.

What is the Best Treatment for Malaria?

The best treatment for Malaria is to undertake the medications so as to control the fever and the chills associated with the diseases and to provide antibiotics to fight against the parasites. Medications are given depending on the type of parasite that has affected the patient. The antiparasitic medicines are given to kill the parasites. Some of the medicines used are Chloroquine. Atovaquone-proguanil etc. In certain instances, the medications might not be effective considering the fact that the parasites might resist the drugs.

If this happens, then the doctor might prescribe more than one medication or change the list of medications prescribed earlier. The doctor might also suggest a proper diet and a clean environment for the patient stay given the fact that some parasites have the tendency to relapse the entire disease if the patient is left in a place where the mosquitoes can easily enter. There are vaccination to prevent the Malaria.

Natural Remedies for Malaria Prevention

It is always advisable to visit the doctor and understand the intensity of the disease before we take up any home remedies for the prevention of any kind of disease. If at all, there are certain natural remedies that can prevent the patient from the Malaria infection. Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties which will help in dealing with the symptoms of malaria.

There is also turmeric, which is an amazing antioxidant with properties that can flush out harmful toxins from the body. Apart from these two obvious natural remedies, mustard oil and grapefruit can also so help the patient. However, the two former remedies will be highly helpful if the person is starting out on the symptoms of malaria. If there are no improvements, then the person must immediately be taken to the hospital for proper medication.

What Happens When You Have Malaria?

Malaria might cause anemia and eventually jaundice. This is solely because of the destruction of red blood cells. If the person is not immediately treated with relevant medication under professional care, then the infection might become severe and will lead to mental confusion, kidney failure, seizures, coma, and even death depending on the intensity of the parasite and its presence.

The symptoms might start showing from 10 days to one month once the person after person has been infected. After a particular period of hibernation, the parasites will start invading the red blood cells which can lead to sickness.

Summary: Malaria is a mosquito-borne infection that gets transferred from one person to another. There are numerous health infections associated with Malaria. It can lead to organ failure if not addressed immediately. Every year, zillions of people get infected by Malaria around the world.

References

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Written ByDr. Shivam Malhotra Sleep Medicine(Training),MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery,MD - General MedicineGeneral Physician
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