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What Is Malaria?
Malaria is a serious disease that thrives mostly in tropical and subtropical countries. Symptoms usually develop in 10 days to 4 weeks after the initial contact with the infection. However, in some cases, the infection may be dormant for a long period (several months) before the symptoms manifest.
High fever, chills or shakes, and excessive sweating are some of the common symptoms. A person may also experience vomiting, diarrhoea, and in some extreme cases, may fall into a coma.
What Causes Malaria?
Malaria is passed on to humans when they are bitten by mosquitoes that carry the Plasmodium parasite which causes the infection. The parasite enters your bloodstream then penetrates and matures in the liver, finally infecting your red blood cells. The parasite then multiplies and as the infected cells burst, the symptoms appear.
There are four different kinds of malaria parasites. The severity of the symptoms depends on which one you have. You have the highest risk of a fatal outcome if you are exposed to the P.falciparum strain.
Malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplants, and shared needles as malaria affects the blood. It has, however, become a rarity nowadays because of strict modern screening processes.
How To Prevent Malaria?
Unfortunately, malaria prevention is not available as a vaccine. When you are travelling to a foreign country where you are at risk of transmission, you will need to take tablets to avoid getting the disease.
You can choose a tablet based on the efficacy, price, and probable side effects. You can find the best one for you on True Medical. You may also consult with our expert staff to get the proper medication for your condition.
Aside from taking tablets, using insect repellents can be a good way of minimizing the risk. Wearing protective clothing that covers most of your skin can also be an effective protective measure. The use of a mosquito net while sleeping can help keep the carrier insects at bay.
Before travelling, you should educate yourself on the various risks involved in travelling abroad. Take the necessary preventive vaccinations before you travel. If you suspect you have contracted a disease such as malaria, go to the nearest hospital for treatment immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Malaria And How Can I Get It?
Malaria is a tropical disease spread through a mosquito bite. Some mosquitoes carry a parasite called plasmodium which can cause fever, nausea, headache, muscle pain and diarrhoea if you are infected. The condition is serious and requires immediate medical attention.
What Causes Malaria?
Female Anopheles mosquitoes pick up the disease when they bite people who are already infected with the disease. The females get the disease when they drain the blood from humans they need to nurture their eggs.
Once the mosquito picks up the parasite it rapidly reproduces. When the same mosquito bites someone, the parasite enters their bloodstream.
It moves to the liver where it reproduces. This leads to symptoms such as fever, nausea, headache and in the more severe cases, coma and even death.
How Do You Prevent Malaria?
Malaria treatments work by preventing the parasite from growing inside your liver and bloodstream by making the conditions for it inhospitable. Simply put, it prevents the parasite from growing in your body and prevents the development of the condition.
You are at an increased risk of contracting the disease in certain countries, particularly tropical ones. If you are travelling to a high-risk country, you need to take the necessary precautions to prevent malaria. The safest way to go about this is to combine anti-malaria treatment with insect repellent products or take the necessary measures to prevent insect bites.
There are different malaria treatments that are used differently, whether it’s once a day or once a week. Make sure you take the treatment for as long as it’s required.
Your doctor may suggest using the treatment for a while as a trial before your trip to determine if you are allergic to the treatment or if you develop any side effects from using it.
What Is The Difference Between Malaria Tablets And Malaria Treatment?
The tablets used to prevent malaria can also be used to treat it. If you’ve taken any of these tablets and still got malaria, you need to tell the doctor which treatment you’ve used since it will be ineffective as a treatment.
Malaria treatment will depend on where you caught the disease, what symptoms you are experiencing, the type of malaria you’ve contracted, your age and whether you’re pregnant. Malaria treatment may exhaust you, which may last up to several weeks.
If A Mosquito Bites Me Will I Develop Malaria?
Malaria is only transmitted through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. Therefore, not all mosquito bites mean you’ll get malaria. The male Anopheles mosquitoes do not bite and other breeds of mosquito do not carry the parasite. However, you should still be vigilant and try to avoid being bitten by any mosquitoes. If you do, anti-malaria treatment can help prevent the disease from developing.
When Am I At A High Risk Of Getting Bitten By A Mosquito?
Mosquitos are most active from dusk to dawn. Make sure you use insect repellents, nets and mosquito coils to prevent getting bitten while you sleep. Wear long, loose clothes as they can help minimize the risk of getting bitten. If you are staying in wet and warm conditions, or if you perspire a lot during the night, use high concentrations of DEET (found in insect repellents).
Which Countries Are At A Higher Risk Of Malaria Infections?
Malaria is most frequent in tropical and subtropical areas where warm temperatures and frequent rainfalls create a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Anopheles mosquitoes require a hot, humid environment to reproduce. They are most commonly found in Africa, Central and South America, South-East Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean.
Can I Infect Others If I Have Malaria?
Malaria is a disease that infects the blood and is therefore only transmittable through mosquito bites, shared needles, blood transfusion and during delivery in pregnancy. The condition is not contagious and cannot be transmitted like the cold or other viruses.
How Long Does It Take For The Symptoms of Malaria To Develop?
Once bitten by an infected mosquito, the symptoms take between one and four weeks to develop. The parasite that causes the disease can stay dormant in the liver where it reproduces for up to a year, when the first symptoms may develop. Sometimes, this can lead to reinfection. Therefore, if you exhibit the symptoms of malaria within a year of getting bitten by a mosquito or if you return from a high-risk area, see your GP for regular screening.
How Can I Know I Have Malaria?
The only way to know you have malaria is to have a blood test done. The parasite is visible under the microscope. This is the only way to determine with certainty whether you have malaria or not.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above and you have visited a high-risk area in the previous year make sure you immediately visit your GP.