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CAN MALARIA BE LIFE THREATENING? 

Malaria can be potentially life threatening if not caught early. Most people complain of high grade fever with shivering and chills along with severe body ache. If you have these symptoms then see your doctor as soon as possible or book an appointment with doctors online and discuss your symptoms with them. 

Why is malaria so dangerous?

The parasites responsible for the spread of malaria are present in mosquitos and belong to the Plasmodium genus. Over 100 types of Plasmodium parasite can infect a variety of species. Different types of plasmodium can multiply and spread at different rates in different environments, can manifest varying symptoms, change how quickly the symptoms escalate, and the severity of the disease.

There are five types of Plasmodium parasite that are infectious to humans. These occur in different parts of the world. Some types of malaria are worse than others. Once an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites begin to multiply in the liver before moving into the bloodstream and destroying red blood cells.

In most cases early diagnosis can help treat and control malaria. However, some countries (mostly developing nations) lack the resources to carry out effective screening. Pakistan has one of the highest of malaria-related deaths. Currently, no vaccine is available. In the United States, between 1,500 and 2,000 cases still occur each year, mostly in those who have recently traveled to malaria-endemic areas. If you have traveled to an endemic region or are planning to then get expert medical advice about necessary precautions from your doctor. You could also find best physician online and discuss your concerns from home! 

Not so fun facts (WHO)

  • Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.
  • In 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 87 countries.
  • The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 435 000 in 2017.
  • Total funding for malaria control and elimination reached an estimated US$ 3.1 billion in 2017. Contributions from governments of endemic countries amounted to US$ 900 million.

Who is at risk of getting malaria?

If you fall under any of these categories then book an online appointment and discuss your concerns with a qualified health professional. Learn how you can prevent malaria. According to different studies, in 2017, nearly half of the world's population was at risk of getting malaria. Most malaria cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa but according to the WHO other regions like South-East Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, Western Pacific, and the Americas are also at risk. In 2017, 87 countries and areas had ongoing malaria transmission.

There are certain people who are at a greater risk of getting malaria and developing severe disease. These include:

  • Infants
  • children under 5 years of age
  • pregnant women 
  • patients with HIV/AIDS
  • patients with other medical conditions that compromise the immune system
  • non-immune migrants
  • mobile populations and travelers

National malaria control programs are carried out in Pakistan and but they still need to focus on preventive medicine and take special measures to protect these population groups from malaria infection, taking into consideration their specific circumstances.

Book an appointment with a doctor to find out what causes malaria

The plasmodium parasite is the main causative organism and since it is transmitted through blood it can also be transmitted by:

  • an infected mother to her baby at birth (congenital malaria)
  • a blood transfusion of un-screened blood
  • an organ transplant
  • sharing used needles and syringes

Signs and symptoms of malaria

The symptoms of malaria don’t show as soon a person is infected. They start to develop symptoms within 10 days to 4 weeks following the infection. In some cases, symptoms may not develop for several months as some malarial parasites can enter the body but become inactive or dormant for long periods of time.

Initially, the milder form of malaria is sometimes also called uncomplicated malaria since symptoms aren’t suggestive of severe infection or organ damage. Common symptoms of malaria include:

  • shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe
  • high fever
  • profuse sweating
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea

Can I find doctors online in Pakistan for malaria?

In areas where malaria is endemic, if you experience such symptoms you should see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out malaria. For immediate consultation you can find expert doctors online in Lahore or any city in Pakistan by downloading the My live doctors app on your smartphone. It’s a quick and convenient way of seeing a doctor from the comfort of your own home. At least you can receive medical guidance until you are able to visit a doctor. 

More severe infection may cause

  • muscle pain
  • fever with chills
  • impaired consciousness
  • deep breathing
  • abnormal bleeding or bloody stool
  • toxic look
  • signs of clinical jaundice or anemia
  • convulsions
  • coma

If you think you might have a severe infection go to the Emergency department right away. A severe infection requires a hospital setup for quick and aggressive treatment. Online health services like My live doctors can help you find a physician in your region or area. If you live in a rural or remote area then an online medical consultation with a competent online doctor in Lahore or any city in Pakistan can help you begin malaria management at home until you are able to get professional help. 

How to treat malaria?

The goal of the treatment is to remove the parasite from the bloodstream. Depending upon the severity of infection your doctor is likely to prescribe one more medications to help with symptom relief and elimination of infection. A severe infection may require a day or two of hospital stay. 

The most important aspect of treatment is prevention. Here are a couple of pointers to prevent malaria:

  • wear long sleeves
  • use bed nets
  • use mosquito repellants
  • improve hygiene and sanitation
  • clean pools of stagnant water
  • travelers should get vaccinated 

For more information on other infectious diseases please visit www.mylivedoctors.com