Malaria is a parasitic disease. Its symptoms include fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, nausea, and vomiting. The symptoms may sometimes recur every 48 to 72 hours, depending on the type of parasite involved and how long the person has had the disease.
When it comes to health issues and if you are an African, you’ll agree that Malaria is not a new disease as it is widespread and one of the most dangerous killer diseases in the continent.
How malaria gets to you
A person can get the malaria parasite from an infected mosquito and conversely, a non-infected mosquito can get the malaria parasite from biting an infected human and that’s how malaria spreads.
To get it straight it starts with malaria parasites.
- Malaria parasite-protozoans called Plasmodia are introduced into the human bloodstream through the bite of a female mosquito known as Anopheles Culex.When a female mosquito sucks blood from an infected person, the Malaria parasites reproduce in her body and migrate to the salivary glands. When the next person is bitten, he would be injected with the saliva carrying the parasite and would become infected.
- The parasites find their way into the infected person’s liver cells where the parasites multiply.
- When a liver cell burst, it releases the parasites in it and these parasites attack the infected person’s red blood cells. Again, the parasites continue to multiply in their new home.
- When the red blood cell ruptures again, it releases the parasites, which invades more red blood cells.
- Red blood cells continues to be invaded by the parasites and at this stage the infected person starts to experience fever (symptoms of malaria) each time the red blood cell ruptures.
Warning symptoms of malaria
If you live in malaria area or you’ve been in one, do not ignore the following symptoms:
Sweats, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea and of course high temperature (fever).
Untreated malaria cause severe anemia and can quickly become life threatening. Seek medical treatment immediately, before symptoms get worse, especially in children and pregnant mothers.
How to protect yourself
Out of many other ways, here’s a quick list of what to do to protect yourself if you live in a place where mosquitoes breed or a land where malaria is prevalent;
- Use a bed net or mosquito net; it should be treated with insecticide, free of any holes or tears and tucked completely under the mattress.
- Consider spraying your home.
- If possible use air-conditioners or fans which may discourage mosquitoes from setting in.
- Wear light-coloured clothing that fully covers your skin.
- Whenever possible, avoid places where mosquitoes swarm and stagnant water where they breed.
- If you’re infected, get treated immediately.
If you’re planning to visit a land where malaria is endemic
- Get current information before you travel because the type of malaria parasite common in one region may differ from that in another, and this affects which type of medicine is most effective. Also, it would be wise to speak to your physician about things you need to be aware of with regard to your personal health history.
- During your visit, follow the guidelines that are presented in this article
- If you become infected, get prompt treatment. Be aware that symptoms may appear between one and four weeks after infection.
Malaria is a threat to human health and should never be taken with levity hands, taking necessary precaution to ward off dangerous health conditions that result from being infected is a wise step to take.
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