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Malaria is extremely common and a serious disease that causes chills, shivering and high fever. You can get infected from a bite by a malaria parasite carrying mosquito. Malaria is most commonly found in Africa, Southern Asia, South America and Central America. The elderly, children and people with lower levels of immunity are a greater risk. Early diagnosis and anti-malarial medication will help in the effective treatment of malaria. Usually, the malaria is caused by a bite from a mosquito infected with parasites.
Malaria can be transmitted from mother to her developing foetus. Malaria cannot be transmitted from one person to the other directly, in rare cases people are affected with malaria if they come into contact with infected blood. Naturopathy has proved that some natural remedies are effective in preventing and treating ringworm, psoriasis and malaria.
Causes of Malaria
Malaria, a parasitic disease involves high fevers, flu-like symptoms, shaking chills, and anaemia. Malaria is caused by a parasite passed from one human to another through the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. When infected the parasites called ‘sporozoites’ travel through the bloodstream to the liver. The parasites mature and release a form of merozoites, which enter the bloodstream and spread the infection to the red blood cells.
The parasites then multiply inside the cells that break open within 48 to 72 hours spreading the infection. The symptoms take 10 days to 4 weeks after infection. They may be noticed within eight days or after a year of infection. Some of the most evident signs of malaria are chills, shaking chills that range from moderate to severe along with high fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhoea..
The Most Common Symptoms are
Some of the common symptoms of Malaria are as follows:
- Anaemia, caused by destruction of red blood cells
- Merozoites being released into the bloodstream
- Chills in the body
- High fever and headache
- Blood in stools
- Excessive sweating
- Feeling of Nausea
The parasite for malaria seems to disappear over the winter. More than one million people die of malaria every year. It is a major hazard for travellers to warm climate. In some parts of the world, the mosquitoes carrying malaria have become resistant to insecticides and the parasites have developed resistance to antibiotics. This has made it much more difficult to control the spread of diseases and rate of infection.
Although, with the advent of advanced medication, malaria has become a preventable and curable diseases, but if can lead to other serious health complications if it goes undiagnosed and untreated for too long.
- The parasites in the body can create different types of complications.
- Cerebritis – brain infection
- Haemolytic anaemia – destruction of blood cells
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Pulmonary Edema – Fluid in lungs causes respiratory failure
- Haemorrhage – Spleen rupture leading to heavy internal bleeding
Transmission of Malaria
A human being can be infected by malaria parasite if the Anopheles or female mosquito transmits it while feeding on human blood. It must be remembered that male or Culex mosquitoes cannot transmit malaria, only female mosquitoes can be a carrier of malaria that takes the parasite while feeding on the blood of an infected person. The malaria (plasmodium) parasites mix with the saliva of the infected mosquito and are passed on to the host. Because the parasite of malaria exists in the red blood cells, therefore, it can be transmitted from one person to another person through other factors like sharing needles and syringes, blood transfusion or organ transplant. It can also be passed on from a pregnant woman to her child during delivery which is known as congenital malaria. Malaria is not an airborne disease and cannot be transmitted through cough or sneeze of the infected person.
People living in areas where malaria is common found usually develop immunity to the disease. However, visitors will not have this immunity and need to take preventive medications. The symptoms such as fever and chills can be controlled with the Indian home remedies for cold and fever.
Before traveling overseas or other areas of your country, you need to see your health care provider. The treatment may begin 2 weeks before your trip for the prevention of malaria. It may also continue for a month after you leave the area.
There are different types of anti-malarial medications prescribed for a different area of visit. Anti-malarial medications will not completely protect you from becoming infected. You need to avoid mosquito bites by using mosquito repellents, creams, wearing protective clothing that will cover your arms and legs and using screens on windows. Maintain clean surroundings by avoiding swamps and drainage flow beside your residence.
It is also important for people living in malaria-prone areas to learn the ways to prevent the diseases. The first and foremost thing to do is administer vector control. This means staying away or controlling the vector of the disease. Controlling the mosquito population is an effective way to reduce the incidence of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.
The most important thing is to improve the standard of living of the people by installing screened windows and using mosquito nets. Insecticide-treated bed nets or ITNs are effective in reducing malaria rate. Mosquitoes can pass through the untreated nets if there are tiny holes, but the treated nets make sure that the mosquitoes and other insects are killed.
Anti-malarial medications can also be administered that prevents the parasite from developing in the blood stream. This type of control is also known as suppression.
Types of Malaria
Before we get on with the treatment for malaria, it is important to know the different types of malaria. There are five types of malaria in all, and the first three are the most common types.
Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax) – This mild form of malaria that causes about 60% of the infections in India. It is not fatal in itself but can reside in the body for several years without showing any symptoms. It has a liver stage, and if it remains untreated in this stage for a long time, then it can relapse and cause malaria attacks.
Plasmodium malariae (P. malariae) – This is also a mild form of the diseases that is not fatal but if it remains untreated then it can lead to a host of health issues in the future. The P. malarie parasite can live in the human blood stream for several decades.
Plasmodium ovale (P. ovale) – This is also a mild form of the disease that is not fatal but needs treatment because it can be in the liver stage and remain in the human body for several years causing illness.
Plasmodium falciparum (P. faliparum) – This the most dangerous form of malaria that is prevalent in Africa countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa.
Plasmodium knowlesi (P. knowlesi) – This form causes malaria in macaques but usually does not infect humans.
Treatment for Malaria
Treating malaria has become much simpler and easier with the discovery of effective medicines and undoubtedly medicines are the first option to treat the illness. However, some malaria parasites can survive as they are in your liver or they are resistant to medicines. Inform your doctor in case you notice the symptoms of malaria. The malaria symptoms and treatment both is determined by the type of malaria an individual has. The most widely used medicine for malaria is Chloroquine along with Quinine sulfate, Hydroxychloroquine, Mefloquine and a combination of atovaquone and proguanil.
The three main types of malaria, tertian fever, malignant tertian malaria and quartan fever, are caused depending upon the parasites which cause it. The most common symptom of all these types of malaria is a high fever. The fever is accompanied by shivering, chills, headache and pain in the limbs. The temperature comes down after some time with excessive sweating. Avoiding stress is also essential to protect your body. According to Naturopathy, wrong feeding habits and unhealthy lifestyles are the real causes for accelerating malaria. The consumption of tinned, flesh foods, alcoholic beverages and de-natured foods causes the development of malaria.
Natural Remedies to Treat Malaria
Fruit and vegetable meal plan is always great when it comes to treating the body. One of the most effective home remedies for malaria is Grapefruit. It should be consumed daily. The natural quinine-like substance can be extracted from the Grapefruit by boiling a quarter of it and straining its pulp.
Another effective natural remedy for malaria is using fever nut seeds. These seeds can be obtained from any herbal store and preserved for use as and when required. Two hours before the assumed time of attack take six grams of these seeds with a cup of water, and the same dosage should be taken one hour after the attack. Whether the attack takes place or not, the same procedure should be reported.
Artemisia annua, also known as sweet wormwood is one of the most effective natural remedies for malaria. The herb has to be steeped in cold water, and the water should be consumed directly in order to get optimum results.
Cinnamon is a valuable remedy for treating malaria. One teaspoon of powdered cinnamon should be boiled in a glass of water with a pinch of pepper powder and a teaspoon of honey. This needs to be taken every day which is a beneficial medicine for malaria.
Chirayata is a herb which is botanically known as Swertia andrographis paniculata. It is beneficial for treating intermittent malarial fevers. It helps to lower the temperature. Take 250 ml of water, add 15 gms of chirayata, 2 cloves and a stick of cinnamon and boil them together. One to two teaspoons of this can be consumed twice a day.
Lime and Lemon
The benefits of lemon tea for weight loss are well known. Lime and lemon also play a vital role to reduce the quartan type of malarial fever. Take 4 to 5 drops of lime, add the juice of one lemon and dissolve it in one glass of water. This mixture needs to be consumed before the onset of fever.
Alum needs to be dry roasted and powdered. A teaspoon of this powder needs to be consumed four hours before the expected fever attack and half a teaspoon after two hours of the attack. It will give great relief from malaria.
Holy basil leaves are a beneficial remedy in the prevention of malaria. Make a paste using eleven grams of holy basil leaves with three grams of black pepper powder. This mixture can be consumed daily in the cold stages of malarial fever. This will check the severity of the disease.
Best Diet for Patients with Malaria
One can fast on orange juice and water for a few days. Depending on the severity of the fever, one must fast on orange juice. One can munch on fresh fruits for the first few days to repair the infected cells. Milk can also be added after a few days to the diet. Fresh fruits and raw vegetables can be consumed for better results. An ideal diet for malaria should help in strengthening the immune system of the patient without putting much pressure on the digestive system, liver and kidneys.
The Basic Diet for Malaria can be broken down into 3 Phases
Phase 1 – After being diagnosed with malaria the patient should be administered an orange juice diet that can last for a week to 10 days.
Phase 2 – After 10 days, fresh fruits should make up a major portion of the patient’s diet. The patient can be served ripe papayas, oranges, apples, pineapples, grapefruit, grapes and mangoes. The fruit diet should last for 3 days.
Phase 3 – This is also known as the convalescing period during which the patient can follow a balanced and healthy diet chart consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts (in moderation).
Most importantly, maintain a clean and hygienic surrounding and prevent yourself from malaria by using the above home remedies. Keep yourself healthy by eating the right kind of foods and by keeping away from mosquitoes by using mosquito repellent creams, medications and devices and don’t forget to use the mosquito net at night.