Malaria – Causes, Symptoms, Signs, Investigations, Prevention, Treatment, Complication
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. People who suffer from malaria usually feel very sick, develop a high fever, and shaking chills. Malaria is a disease found most commonly in tropical and subtropical regions. If you are traveling to areas where malaria is common, take preventive measures by wearing protective clothing, using insect and mosquito repellants, and sleeping under treated mosquito nets.
Causes of Malaria
Malaria is caused by a microscopic parasite that is present inside the mosquitoes and transmits to humans commonly through mosquito bites. It is caused when the parasite enters the mosquito and transmits the parasite by blood, an organ transplant, transfusion of blood/blood products, or the use of shared needles or syringes.
Symptoms of MalariaMalaria infection is characterized by the following symptoms:
Other symptoms and signs may include:
When to See a Doctor?Consult your doctor if you experience a fever whilst living in or after traveling to a high-risk malaria region. The parasites that cause malaria can lie dormant in your body for a very long time. If you have severe symptoms or any of the aforementioned signs, seek emergency medical attention.
Complications of MalariaMalaria can be fatal, particularly the one caused by the variety of parasite that’s commonly found in the tropical parts of Africa. In most cases, malaria deaths are related to one or more serious complications, like:
PreventionIf you live in or are traveling to an area where the disease is common, take preventive steps to avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are most active around dusk and dawn; to protect yourself from mosquito bites, you should:
Treatment of MalariaThe treatment aims to eliminate the parasite from the bloodstream. Those with severe symptoms should rush to a hospital for treatment. Your doctor will prescribe medications based on the seriousness of your condition. Additionally, certain types of parasites can cause liver damage and can live in your body for an extended amount of time and reactivate at a later stage causing a relapse of the infection. If you are found to have been infected with one of these parasites, you’ll need a second medication to prevent a relapse in the future. In any case, you need to consult a doctor in case you notice any of the symptoms.
Dr. Divaanshu Gupta
Dr. Divaanshu Gupta is a cardiac anaesthesiologist in Manipal Hospital, Jaipur. He has done his M.B.B.S. as well as M.D. Anaesthesia from S.M.S. Medical College. He has a vast experience of working in various critical care units of government as well as corporate hospitals.