Malaria is a serious, and sometimes even fatal, disease which is caused by the parasite called Plasmodium vivax and is spread by the female anopheles mosquito. The illness is accompanied by flu like symptoms such as headaches, chills, high fever, nausea, vomiting, body pain, weakness and fatigue. Malaria can be diagnosed with a blood test. Continue reading to know how malaria is transmitted & what is its treatment and prevention.
How Is Malaria Transmitted?
People are often worried and not aware of how malaria is transmitted? Malaria is majorly spread or transmitted to humans via infected mosquitoes that feed on human blood. While biting a human, these mosquitoes regurgitate the Plasmodium parasites into the individual's blood vessels. These parasites need both mosquitoes and humans to pass through a full and complex lifecycle, which consists of many life stages, for its complete development and maturation.
Malaria is a non-communicable disease and is not transmitted through human contact or touch. It can however be transmitted through organ donation, from mother to fetus and via blood transfusions. By using appropriate control measures such transmissions can be reduced considerably. People who develop fever anytime within one year of visiting an area where malaria is endemic, should seek urgent evaluation for malaria. Malaria needs to be treated with prescription medications and can become fatal if left untreated. No effective home remedies are known for treating malaria. Only prompt medical care and regular follow ups can help to deal with this issue effectively. While milder cases of malaria can be treated at home with fluids and oral medications, severe infections need intravenous drug therapy. People suffering from malaria are advised to drink lots of fluids and stay well hydrated. Although hydration does not treat or cure malaria, it does reduce the side effects related to dehydration that often accompany malaria.
Treatment of Malaria
There are a wide variety of drugs like chloroquine, quinine, mefloquine etc. that are available for treating malaria. The choice of drug used in treatment of malaria depends on the causative species of Plasmodium and the drug-resistant nature of the parasite. Most medications are available in tablet or pill form. Intravenous treatment with quinidine is administered to patients suffering from severe malaria or in situations where the patient is unable to take oral medications.
Common medications used for treatment of malaria in patients with P. ovale or P. vivax, may not cure the illness completely. This happens because these parasites hide in the liver and do not get affected by regular medicines. Only a special medication called primaquine can eradicate these parasites from the liver. However, this drug cannot be administered to people who are deficient in the enzyme called G6PD.
Malaria during pregnancy can have serious ill effects and thus needs to be treated very carefully by an expert. Miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, and severe issues in the mother are certain complications of malaria which can occur during pregnancy.
Prevention of Malaria
An important part of prevention of malaria in patients who have previously suffered is to keep a note of their problems. Patients must report any recurrent symptoms or fever to their doctor because these may indicate the failure of the previous treatment. Those who have suffered from malaria must not donate blood for at least 3 years post treatment. Further, they must notify the donation authorities about their malarial history. Those who have travelled to areas where malaria occurs must not donate blood or other blood products for a certain period of time. Following medical advice is necessary to prevent
For others, once you know how malaria is transmitted, you can take the necessary action to prevent it. Mosquito breeding must be controlled by keeping the surroundings clean and any stagnated water must be removed. Since the female anopheles mosquito is responsible for spreading malaria, it is extremely important for everyone to stay protected against these insects when indoors or outdoors. For prevention of malaria it is necessary to protect yourself from mosquito bite.
- Use of personal repellents can keep you safe when going out.
- When at home, mosquito nets, repellent sprays etc. can be used. For further protection, people should sleep under bed nets.
Another important aspect of prevention of malaria is that on experiencing malaria like symptoms, one must visit a doctor right away and get the illness diagnosed and treated accurately. There are several medications available for timely treatment of malaria, which can not only prevent complications but also from getting transmitted to others.