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Malaria (marsh fever, periodic fever) is a parasitic disease that involves infection of the red blood cells (RBCs).Malaria is one of the most widespread diseases in the world, especially in tropical and subtropical regions.


Caused by a tiny parasite called Plasmodium

Malaria is a disease which is spread by mosquitoes. Malaria is caused by the germs called Plasmodium. These germs enter into saliva glands and live in it of a female mosquito. When this mosquito stings, these germs first enter the skin and from there into the bolld. Malaria germs are carries by a particular type of mosquitoes called Anopheles. These plasmodium enter into the blood and begin to destroy the red blood corpuscles. Malaria is rarely contagious from person to person; from mother to child in "congenital malaria," or through blood transfusion, organ donation or shared needles. It is typically transmitted by the bite of a mosquito that has previously bitten someone with malaria. Although four species of malaria parasites can infect humans and cause illness, only malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum is potentially life-threatening.

Signs and Symptoms of Malaria

People with malaria typically have cycles of chills, fever, and sweating that recur every 1, 2, or 3 days. The attack of the malaria parasites on the person's red blood cells makes the person's temperature rise and the person feel hot. The subsequent bursting of red blood cells makes the person feel cold and have hard, shaking chills. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea often go along with the fever. The destruction of red blood cells can also cause jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) and anemia.

Global Malaria Situation

As has been the casse for the last 15 years, the overall world malaria situation shows no real general improvement. It is estimated that about 95 million clinical cased occur each year, and the actual number of persons infected is about 240 million.

In terms of population, 28 % of the total worls population in areas which have been malaria- free since the last 1940s; 16 % live in areas whre malaria has been eradicated;48% live in areas where malaria persists, and 8 % live in areas where the malaria endemicity remains basically unchanged.

Where Malaria Founds:-

Malaria transmission occurs in large areas of Central and South America , sub-Saharan Africa , the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia , the Middle East , and Oceania . The risk to travelers varies depending on local weather conditions, the number of mosquitoes in the area, and the traveler's itinerary and time and type of travel.

Symptoms & Stages of Malaria

A child with early symptoms of malaria may be irritable and drowsy, with poor appetite and trouble sleeping.

  • The symptoms characteristic of malaria include fever, chills, muscle aches, and headache.
  • Cycles of chills, fever, and sweating typically recur every 1, 2 or 3 days if the infection is not treated.
  • There can sometimes be vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing and yellowing (jaundice) of the skin and the whites of the eyes.

Stages of Malaria

A typical attack comprises three successive stages:

A) Cold Stage :- This is charactersied by sudden onset of fever with rigor and sensation of extreme cold. The patient desires to be covered with blankets. This stage lasts between 15 minutes and one hour.

B) Hot Stage :- the temperature may rise to 41 deg.C ( 106 deg. F ). The patient feels burning hot and casts off his clothes. There is intense headache. This stage lasts from 2 to 6 hours.

C) Sweating Stage :- Fever comes down with profuse sweating. This stage lasts from 2 to 4 hours. The febrile paroxysms occur with the definite intermittent periodicity repeating every third or fourth day depending upon the species of the parasite involved. The classical three stages ( cold, hot, sweating) may not always be observed due to maturation of generation of the parasite at different times.

Diagnosis of Malaria

Malaria is diagnosed by a blood test to check for parasites. One or two drops of blood is taken from a finger, spread on a smaller glass piece and tested for any presence of Malaria germs in the red blood cells.

Precautions in Malaria

  • Use antimosqito spray to destroy the mosquitoes in the surrouindings.
  • Spray on the places where mosquitoes breed
  • Take care to avoid mosquitoe bite.

How can malaria be prevented?

No vaccine against malaria is available. Travelers can protect themselves by using anti-mosquito measures and by taking drugs to prevent malaria.

Avoid mosquito bites -- Avoiding the bites of Anopheles mosquitoes is the best way to prevent infection. Because Anopheles mosquitoes feed at night, malaria transmission happens mainly between dusk and dawn. Travelers should take steps to reduce contact with mosquitoes both when outdoors and inside, especially during these hours.

When outside:

  • Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants. For extra protection, treat clothing with the insecticide permethrin.

Use insect repellent on exposed skin. The most effective repellents contain 20% to 35% DEET (N,N-diethylmethyltoluamide). Follow application instructions carefully when using these products.

When inside:

  • Stay in well-screened areas as much as possible during the evening.
  • Use antimosquito spray to destroy the mosquitoes in the surroundings.
  • Spray on the places where mosquito breed.
  • Use a bednet when sleeping in a room that is not screened or air conditioned.
  • Change the water in the flower pots every 2 to 3 days.
  • If the fountain in the compound are not functioning, keep them clean and dry.

Take anti-malaria drugs -- When traveling to an area known to have malaria, discuss your travel plans with a doctor well before departure. Medicines to prevent malaria are usually prescribed for persons traveling to areas where malaria is common. Travelers from different countries might receive different recommendations because of differences in the availability of medicines. Travelers visiting only cities or rural areas where there is no risk of malaria might not need preventive drugs. An exact itinerary is needed to decide on the right degree of protection.

To be sure that your anti-malaria drug helps protect you against malaria, you must follow the recommended doses and schedules exactly:

  • Take pills on the same day each week, or, for pills to be taken daily, at the same time each day.
  • Take pills after meals.
  • Take the recommended doses 1 to 2 weeks before travel, throughout the trip, and for 4 weeks after leaving the area with malaria.
  • Do not stop taking the pills after arriving home. Complete the full dosage.

Travelers should understand that they can get malaria even if they use anti-malaria drugs. Pregnant women and young children need special instructions because of the potential effects of malaria illness and the danger in using some drugs for malaria prevention and treatment.

Seek medical help in case of illness -- Symptoms of malaria can be mild. Travelers should suspect malaria if they experience an unexplained fever while in or after returning from an area where malaria is common. Persons with suspected malaria should get medical help right away.

Dos and don'ts

  • Easily digestible diet is advised for the patient
  • Boiled or steamed vegetables
  • vegetable soup
  • fruit and fruit juices
  • small quantities of cow milk can be taken two to three times a day
  • Khichadi is very good with spices like cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric, ginger and salt can be also be added to it.
  • Egg plant, bitter gourd and cooked radish and barley water is good.
  • Small amounts of whole grain bread or biscuits can be taken with milk. Heavy foods that are difficult to digest like fried foods, fast foods, meat, chicken, fish, and raw foods should be completely avoided.
  • The patient should take ample rest.

Doctors treat malaria by using anti-malarial drugs, such as chloroquine or quinine. These are given by mouth, by injection, or intravenously (into the veins). Depending on the type of parasite causing the malaria, a person can be treated as an outpatient over a few days or may require hospitalization with IV medication. Doctors also watch for signs of dehydration, convulsions, anemia, and other complications that can affect the brain, kidneys, or spleen. The patient may require fluids, blood transfusions and breathing assistance.

Treatment/ Remedies of Malaria

Some general remedies that are beneficial in malaria are:

  • Mild sweating: this helps to digest the toxins. Lie on a bed covered with a blanket, for 15 to 20 minutes. Drinking a hot liquid also helps.
  • Take 10 grams (one-tablespoon) raisins and 10 grams (one tablespoon) fresh ginger. Crush and put in 200-ml. water for one hour. Boil this decoction till the water reduces to 50 ml. Strain and drink while warm. Dosage: This preparation can be taken twice a day.
  • Grind 1gm of black pepper in 10 gms of basil juice and administer at two hour intervals for 5 to six days. In addition give the patient basil tea. The fever along with the malarial symptoms will be totally relieved in a couple of days. This treatment should be effective in Dengue too (AKN). Make equal parts tulsi leaf juice, bel flower juice, and honey. Take a couple teaspoons twice daily.

Malaria treatment using Grapefruit

Grapefruit is one of the most effective home remedies for malaria. It should be taken daily. It contains a natural quinine-like substance which can be extracted from the fruit by boiling a quarter of a grapefruit and straining its pulp.

Cold pack application to the whole body

The best way to reduce temperature naturally during the course of the fever is by means of a cold pack, which can be applied to the whole body. This pack is made by wringing out a sheet or any other large square piece of linen material in cold water, wrapping it right round the body and legs of the patient (twice round would be best), and then covering it completely with a small blanket or similar warm material. This pack should be applied every three hours during the day while the temperature is high and kept on for an hour or so. Hot-water bottles may be kept on the feet and against the sides of the body.

Malaria treatment using Chirayata

The herb chirayata, botanically known as Swertia chirata, is also beneficial in the treatment of intermittent malarial fevers. It helps in lowering the temperature. An infusion of the herb, prepared by steeping 15 gm of chirayata in 250 ml of hot water with aromatics like cloves and cinnamon, should be given in doses of 15 to 30 ml.

Malaria treatment using Lime and Lemon

Lime and lemon are valuable in the quartan type of malarial fever. About three grams of lime should be dissolved in about 60 ml of water and the juice of one lemon added to it. This water should be taken before the onset of the fever.

Malaria treatment using Alum

Alum is also useful in malaria. It should be roasted over a hot plate and powdered. Half a teaspoon should be taken about four hours before the expected attack and half a teaspoon every two hours after it. This will give relief.

Malaria treatment using Holy Basil

The leaves of holy basil are considered beneficial in the prevention of malaria. An infusion of a few leaves can be taken daily for this purpose. The juice of about eleven grams of leaves of holy basil mixed with three grams of powder of black pepper can be taken beneficially in the cold stage of the malarial fever. This will check the severity of the disease.

Malaria treatment using Cinnamon

Cinnamon is regarded as a valuable remedy in malaria. One teaspoon should be coarsely powdered and boiled in a glass of water with a pinch of pepper powder and honey. This can be used beneficially as a medicine in malaria.

Malaria diet

Fast on orange juice and water for a few days

Diet is of utmost importance in the treatment of malaria. To begin with, the patient should fast on orange juice and water for a few days, depending on the severity of the fever.

Fresh-fruit diet

After the fever has subsided, the patient should be placed on an exclusive fresh-fruit diet for the first few days. Milk may then be added to the diet.

Well-balanced diet, emphasis on fresh fruits, and raw vegetables

Thereafter, the patient may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet of natural foods, with emphasis on fresh fruits, and raw vegetables.

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