While malaria isn’t common in certain climates, it’s still a life-threatening disease that infects approximately 290 million people and kills more than 400,000 people each year. In most cases, malaria occurs when an infected mosquito bites you. The mosquito then passes the parasite that causes Malaria to your body.
Even if you don’t live in a subtropical environment, you can develop malaria if you travel to regions where malaria is common. If you suspect that you have contracted Malaria, you can visit Memorial Heights ER for a check-up or emergency room in Houston.
Signs and Symptoms of Malaria
Following an infection, malaria can take up to 10 to 4 weeks to develop. In some cases, symptoms can be dormant for months. Common signs and symptoms of malaria may include;
- High fever
- Shaking chills – moderate to severe
- Profuse sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain and diarrhea
- Convulsions and coma
- Muscle pain
- Bloody stools
- Muscle or joint pain
- General feeling of discomfort
- Rapid breathing and heart rate
Severe symptoms of malaria include;
- Cerebral malaria
- Accumulation of fluid in the lungs
- Organ failure of the liver, spleen, or liver
- Low blood sugar
- Anemia from destroyed red blood cells
If you or your loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms and haven’t received any medical care, you should visit an emergency clinic or call for an er near you.
When the Plasmodium parasite gets into your body, it travels to the liver. Within a few days, the parasite matures and enters the bloodstream, infecting the red blood cells. After two to three days, the parasite inside the red blood cells multiplies, consequently causing the infected cells to burst open.
There are four types of malaria parasites, namely;
- Plasmodium vivax
- Plasmodium malariae
- Plasmodium ovale
- Plasmodium falciparum – most dangerous parasite
Besides a mosquito bite, Malaria can be transmitted by blood through;
- A blood transfusion
- An organ transfusion
- Sharing syringes or needles
Diagnosis and Treatment
You can visit a hospital or clinic for a diagnosis or treatment. The doctor is likely to ask you a few questions to review your health history, including your symptoms or any recent travel to tropical regions. If the doctor suspects that you have malaria, blood tests will be performed to confirm your diagnosis.
If you have Malaria, the doctor will prescribe medication depending on the type of parasite you’re infected with. I would highly advise against buying over the counter medications for malaria without a doctor’s prescription.
Safety precautions to prevent Malaria
If you plan to travel to a location where malaria is common, you should consult with your doctor about Malaria preventive medicine. The doctor will advise whether to take the drugs prior to, during, or after the trip. The type of medication you’ll be given will depend on the location and duration of time you’ll be traveling.
Besides taking medication, you can take the following steps to avoid mosquito bites, which may lead to malaria;
- Cover your body – wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Apply insect repellent to your skin. These repellents contain picaridin, IR3535, DEEP, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), 2-undecanone, 8-diol (PMD), and para-menthane-3. You should consult with your before using these products on children under age 3.
- Spray insect repellent on clothing.
- Sleep under a treated mosquito net.
When to see Nearest Emergency Room?
Sometimes the medication provided may not cure the infection because the parasite may resist the drugs. If this happens, the doctor will prescribe more or change the medication.
Immediately seek emergency medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen. Memorial Heights is a registered Houston emergency center that you can trust for proper diagnosis and treatment.
At the moment, there’s no vaccine available for malaria prevention. However, with the proper diagnosis and medication, malaria is easily treatable.
If you live or plan to travel to a region where malaria is common, you should talk with your doctor about the best preventive medicine.
Similarly, you should call for an emergency room near you if you experience any malaria symptoms. Memorial Heights is a registered emergency clinic in TX, 77007.