Malaria is a common infection which is caused by parasites. The single- celled microorganisms gain the entry into the blood stream via the bite of a mosquito, known as Anopheles mosquito. The parasite that leads to malaria is called as plasmodia. The most common plasmodia species that cause malaria include Plasmodium vivax or Plasmodium falciparum.
The plasmodium parasites spend majority of their life span inside the human body. Other part of their life, they spend inside the mosquito.
When the parasite is inside the human body, it leads to severe infection. It multiplies inside the liver cells as well as the red blood cells.
Symptoms of Malaria
The symptoms of malaria include:
- High grade fever with chills
- Abdominal discomfort
- Muscle aches
Delayed treatment can lead to severe complications like:
- Brain tissue injury leading to extreme sleepiness, delirium, convulsions, unconsciousness, and coma
- Kidney failure
- Pulmonary edema
- Severe anemia
- Low blood sugar
- Yellow discoloration of the skin
Treatment of Malaria
The treatment of malaria depends of different aspects. They include:
- The type of infection
The treatment of malaria relies on the kind of infection. The treatment approach of the infection caused by P. Vivax is totally different from that of P. Flaciparum.
Malaria caused by P. Falciparum is more severe and the possibilities of the resistance to the anti- malarial drugs are high.
- Severity of infection
The severity of infection plays a big role in drawing out the treatment. If the infection is diagnosed properly, it can be treated in three days, but if the infection is severe and treatment is delayed, it can take the life of the patient.
- Status of the host
The treatment also depends on the condition of the hosts. The doctor measure parameters like the age of the patient, functional capacity, etc.
- Associated diseases and conditions
Treatment also varies according to the associated conditions like pregnancy, cardiac diseases, renal failure, hepatic insufficiency, epilepsy, dermatitis, etc.
Anti- malarial drugs are prescribed to the patient. The medications for the treatment of malaria include:
- Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
- Atovaquone (Mepron)
- Artemether and lumefantrine (Coartem)
- Clindamycin (Cleocin)
- Proguanil (sold as a generic)
Patients infected with P. Falciparum are monitored in intensive care unit.
If the patient is pregnant, chloroquine is given for the treatment of malaria. If the woman is resistant to chloroquine, other medications are preferred including proguanil, quinine and clindamycin.
The patients with malaria generally have a good prognosis if they are treated on time with the anti- malarial drugs. If not treated properly, malaria can be fatal especially when the causative agent is P. Falciparum.