What is malaria?


Know the basics

What is malaria?

Malaria is considered as a life-threatening disease which is caused by a parasite. If an infected Anopheles mosquito bites you, the Plasmodium parasite causing malaria can be transmitted through it and then released into your bloodstream. Once you have malaria, you can face with recurrent attacks of chills and fever that occur in cycles that last two to three days at a time.

How common is malaria?

Malaria is more common in tropical and subtropical countries than in temperate climates. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of malaria?

The common signs and symptoms of malaria are:

  • Moderate to severe shaking chills;
  • High fever;
  • Profuse sweating;
  • Headache;
  • Vomiting, nausea;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Anemia;
  • Muscle pain;
  • Convulsions;
  • Coma;
  • Bloody stools.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • You experience a high fever while living in or after traveling to a high-risk malaria region;
  • You experience a high fever even if it’s several weeks, months or a year after you return from travelling.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes malaria?

A type of microscopic parasite, also called  Plasmodium, is supposed to be the cause of malaria. It is transmitted most commonly by mosquito bites, especially by female Anopheles mosquitoes that mainly bite at dusk and night. There only five in many types of Plasmodia parasites are responsible for malaria in humans. When you are bited, the parasites are passed into the bloodstream. When the parasites are inside your body, they travel to the liver for maturing, where some types can lie dormant for as long as a year. After some days, the mature parasites enter the bloodstream and begin to infect red blood cells, usually within 48 to 72 hours, causing the infected cells to burst open

Although it is rare, you can also get malaria through blood transfusions and the sharing of needles.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for malaria?

There are many risk factors for malaria, such as:

  • Living in or to visit tropical areas where the disease is common, like African countries, south of the Sahara Desert, the Asian subcontinent, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Haiti.
  • Younger age, especially children and infants;
  • Poverty;
  • Lack of knowledge;
  • Little or no access to health care.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is malaria diagnosed?

Your doctor may review your health history to know if you have any recent travel to tropical climates. A physical exam may be needed in some cases. Your doctor can also be able to make sure if you have an enlarged spleen or liver.

Your doctor can ask you to have blood tests so that they can know if there is the presence of the parasite to help tailor treatment by determining. The blood tests help your doctor to know if you have malaria, which type of malaria parasite leads to your symptoms, whether your infection is caused by a parasite resistant to certain drugs, if there is any of your vital organs affected. There are some tests can take it several days to get the result, while others just require less than 15 minutes.

How is malaria treated?

In fact, getting malaria can threaten your life, so you should never decide yourself to treat it at home. It is suggested that you should have treatment for the disease in a hospital. You can be prescribed medications following the type of parasite that you have. When you realize that your infection can’t be cleared because parasites are resistant to drug, you should tell to your doctor so that they can consider using more than one medication or changing medications altogether to treat your condition.

Depending on which type of malaria parasite you have, how severe your symptoms are, your age, if you’re pregnant, ,you can be given some types of drugs and how long you need the treatment. The most common antimalarial drugs include chloroquine, quinine sulfate,  hydroxychloroquine, mefloquine, or combination of atovaquone and proguanil.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage malaria?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with malaria:

  • Spraying your home’s walls with insecticide can help kill adult mosquitoes that come inside;
  • Keep your place clean, dry, and hygienic. Use detol, phenyl… for cleaning house and toilets;
  • You should sleep under a net;
  • You need to cover your skin by wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts, or covered cloth, especially when this epidemic is spread in your are;
  • When you are having malaria, you should use liquid foods. Then in recovering time, you can provide yourself with green leafy vegetables and fruits;
  • Never allow water to store in a pool, or potholes near your house.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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