Malaria is a life threatening disease. Malaria is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Infected mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite. When this mosquito bites you, the parasite is released into your bloodstream.
Once the parasites are inside your body, they travel to the liver, where they mature. After several days, the mature parasites enter the bloodstream and begin to infect red blood cells.
Within 48 to72 hours, the parasites inside the red blood cells multiply, causing the infected cells to burst open.
The parasites continues to infect blood cells, resulting in symptoms that occur in Cycles that last two to three days at a time.
Malaria is typically found in tropical and subtropical climates where the parasites can live.
A malaria infection is generally characterized by the following sign & symptoms-
• High fever
• Shaking Chills that can range from moderate to severe
• Nausea and vomitting
• Muscle pain and fatigue
Some other sign & symptoms may include-
• Profuse sweating
• Chest or abdominal pain
Some people who have malaria experience cycles of malaria “attacks”. An attack usually starts with shivering and chills, followed by a high fever, followed by sweating and a return to normal temperature. Malaria signs and symptoms typically begin within a few weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito.However, some types of malaria parasites can lie dormant in your body for up to a year.
Malaria is caused by a type of microscopic parasite Plasmodium. There are four kinds of malaria parasites that can infect humans – Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium falciparum. Plasmodium parasite is transmitted to humans most commonly through mosquito bites.
Plasmodium falciparum causes a more severe form of the disease and those who contract this form of malaria here at higher risk of death.
Other modes of transmission-
Because the parasites that cause malaria affect red blood cells, people can catch malaria from exposure to infected blood, including –
• from mother to unborn child
• through blood transfusions
• by sharing needles used to inject drugs
• Swelling of the blood vessels of the brain or cerebral malaria
• An accumulation of the fluid in the lungs that causes breathing problems or pulmonary oedema
• Organ failure of the kidneys, liver or spleen
• Anaemia due to destruction of red blood cells
• low blood sugar
• Cover your skin by wearing pants and long sleeved shirts.
• Apply insect repellant to skin and clothing.
• Sleep under a net.
Blood tests are the only way to confirm a malaria diagnosis. Certain blood tests can help your doctor by showing –
• The presence of the parasite in the blood, to confirm that you have malaria
• Which type of malaria parasite is causing your symptoms
• If your infection is caused by a parasite resistant to certain drugs
Other blood tests help determine whether the disease in causing any serious complications.
Malaria is treated with prescription drugs to kill the parasite. The type of drugs and the length of treatment will vary, depending on –
¤ Which type of malaria parasite you have
¤ The severity of your symptoms
¤ Your age
¤ Whether you are pregnant
The most common antimalarial drugs are –
¤ Artemisinin based combination therapies (ACTs) – These are font line treatment for malaria.eg. artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem) and artesunate -amodiaquine.
¤ Chloroquine phosphate – It is preferred treatment for any parasite that is sensitive to the drug.
Other common antimalarial drugs are-
¤ Quinine sulfate with doxycycline
¤ Primaquine phosphate
In Ayurveda the symptoms of Malaria can be correlated with Vishama Jwara.According to Ayurveda, all types of Vishama Jwara involve the tridoshas.However, most commonly it is due to a vitiation in vata dosha. Vishama Jwara is known to cause shosha (thirst) and daha (burning), Which affect the agni (digestive fire).
Effective Herbs –
• Neem -It acts as astringent, antiperiodic (prevents recurrence of diseases) and antimalarial herb.
• Guduchi – It boosts the immune system in people with vitiation of all three doshas.
• Akanadi – It acts as antimalarial herb.
• Saptaparna – It is tridoshaghana and having deepana(hunger increasing), anulomana (purging) , raktashodhaka and most important Jwaraghana (fever reducing) properties.
• Amalaki -It is an antipyretic herb and also having haemostatic and tonic properties that bring about stabilisation in the body.
• Musta – It acts on the plasma tissues and on the digestive and circulatory systems.
Beneficial Medications –
• Sudarshan Churna
• Guduchayadi Kwatha
• Sanjivani Vati
• Jaimangal Ras
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