The risk of malaria arises after the rainy season and continues for a good 5-6 months time from November to April. It is transmitted through the bite of Anopheles mosquito that is infected with Plasmodium parasite. A bite from this mosquito releases the parasite into your bloodstream.
Read more to know the details!
Causes of Malaria
There are four different types of malaria parasites that can infect the mosquito and you get infected in turn after a mosquito bite. After the parasite reaches the bloodstream, it travels to the liver to mature. These matured parasites then enter the bloodstream and infect the red blood cells. In the next 48-72 hours, these parasites start multiplying inside the RBCs causing them to burst open. That is when you start seeing the symptoms within 2-3 days.
The severity of the disease and the risk of death depend on what parasite has affected your body.
If the mother is infected, she can pass this infection on to the baby at birth. This is called congenital malaria. Malaria is generally transmitted through blood, so it can get easily passed on from one person to another through a blood transfusion or an organ transplant or sharing of needles.
Symptoms of malaria
The symptoms of malaria can only be experienced after the parasite has fully matured in the bloodstream. It takes a typical of 10 days to 4 weeks time after the infection. Again in some cases, the parasites can just stay dormant for months before they start infecting a person severely. So the moment you experience symptoms or realize a family member exhibiting such symptoms, go for a blood test immediately to find out.
Here are some common symptoms of malaria that better be not ignored:
- High Fever with chills
- A headache
- Excess sweating
- Abdominal pain
- Joint and muscle pain
Diagnosis of malaria
Diagnosis of malaria is very important at an early stage; otherwise, it can even cause death. Your doctor is the best person to do so. He will check through tests if you have an enlarged spleen and liver. He will also order further blood tests to check the following
- How severe the malaria is
- What type of malaria it is
- If the infection is caused by a drug-resistant parasite
- If malaria has caused anemia
- If your vital organs are affected by the disease
Malaria can be life-threatening too!
Yes, Malaria, if not treated properly, can lead to a number of life-threatening complications.
- Blood vessels in the brain can swell leading to cerebral malaria
- Fluid retention in the lungs that cause breathing problems called pulmonary edema
- Organ failure of kidney, spleen, and liver
- Severe anemia
- Low blood sugar
How to prevent malaria
There is no vaccination that can be administered to prevent malaria. However, here’s what you can do:
- If you are staying in a malaria-prone region, always use mosquito nets at night. Use mosquito repellant creams on exposed skin. Always keep mosquito repellants on throughout the day.
- If you are traveling to any tropical regions where malaria is prevalent, talk to your doctor regarding medications. You must have these anti-malarial drugs before, during and after the trip.
Be aware, take prevention and stay safe from malaria!