What is Malaria?
Malaria is one of the dreadful and infectious diseases caused by a protozoan parasite called plasmodium which infects red blood cells (RBC). The word malaria consists of mal + aria means ‘bad air’ in Italian. The major symptoms of malaria are the recurrent attacks of chills, fever, and sickness. Millions of people come under the wrath of malaria where children under age 5 are more vulnerable. In 2010, about 6.6 lakh people died due to malaria across the world. Though malaria is considered a deadly disease, yet it can be prevented with some precautions. Pregnant women should also take utmost precautions as they are at high risk. A maximum number of malaria cases is reported in African countries. In many places across the world, malaria has developed resistance to various medicines.
Malaria Symptoms and Signs
Malaria signs and symptoms appear after 10 to 15 days of the mosquito bite. Malaria is generally characterized by recurrent attacks of chills followed by fever with the following signs and symptoms:
Malaria Symptoms in Adults
- Chills and shivering
- High Fever
- Joint pain
Malaria Symptoms in Babies
Malaria infects children of age five years or below. Malarial symptoms in kids below 5 years start showing after 10 days. Early symptoms with babies include irritability, low appetite, and disturbed sleeping. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Sleeping problems
- Stomach pain
- Body aches
How Malaria is Caused?
Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. This parasite is being inserted into human red blood cells through female Anopheles. The mosquito has specialized apparatus to penetrate the victim’s skin. Here, female Anopheles mosquitoes are acted as vectors in the transmission of malaria parasite-Plasmodium. This vector injects its saliva into the wound and withdraws blood too. There are four varieties of Plasmodium species that are responsible for the life-threatening disease malaria. At a time, only one species of the parasites caused the disease.
Plasmodium falciparaum: Plasmodium falciparum is a dangerous and life-threatening species. This species show the most severe symptoms and also responsible for many deaths in India and the world.
Plasmodium vivax: The maximum number of malarial infections is happened due to this species of plasmodium. The symptoms of it are less severe in nature and relapses for about three years.
Plasmodium malaria: This form of malaria is more common in the African region. It may remain in the body without producing symptoms.
Plasmodium ovale: This form of species is not very common.
- Mild to severe anemia
- Swelling in the brain
- Kidney failure
- Liver Failure
- Rupture of the spleen
- Breathing problem
Malaria Disease in Africa
Malaria is widespread in the African continent. More than 90 percent of the deaths of malaria are observed in Africa. In African hospitals, about 60 percent of patients are from malaria, which means out of 10 beds, 6 beds are occupied with malaria patients. The person who traveled to Africa is also at high risk.
How Malaria is Transmitted?
The malaria parasite is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito, which has sucked the blood of an infected human. The mosquito usually bites in the early evening and night. A pregnant woman can transmit the infection to her unborn baby. Malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion or organ transplants from an infected person.
Parasite infected mosquito bites a human & passes on the parasite—————Parasite infected the liver—————–Infected liver infects the blood vessels———-Second mosquito bites infected person & picks malaria parasite————–Second mosquito passes infection to next human being.
Homoeopathy Malaria Treatment
Homeopathic medicine like Arsenic album 30 is given when the patient experienced recurrent fever, excess anxiety, acute pain, and unquenchable thirst. Wupatorium perfoliatum 30 is prescribed when the person is suffering from fever, bone ache, chills, seating, and unquenchable thirst. Chininum sulphuricum 30 is recommended to patients who are showing symptoms like fever at regular interval, chills and shivering. Cinchona officinalis 30 is given to those malarial patients who are experiencing heavy chills, recurrent fever, less thrust, flatulence, and loose motion.
Unani Treatment for Malaria
As per Unani, malaria is caused due to the derangement of humor (Akhlat). In Unani, malaria is called Humma-e-Ajamiyah or fever-related with shrubs. The following herbs like Dikamaali Gummy gardenia, Zarish Barberry, Zaranbad champoo ginger, Sumbulut-teeb valerian, Neem margo, Filfil siyah pepper, Gilo Tinospora, Tabasheer bamboo, Chariata Indian gentian, and Karanjwa fever nut, are used for the treatment of malaria.
Following drugs may be taken after consultation with the physicians. Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), Chloroquine, Quinine sulfate plus doxycycline, Clindamycin, amodiaquine, lumefantrine, mefloquine, pyrimethamine, dihydroartemisinin, piperaquine, etc. Siddha herbs are also used as medicinal drugs for malaria. The various Siddha herbs are Nilavembu, Athividayam, Masikkai, Vembu, Parpataakam, Vasambu, Naabi, and Arathai.
Natural Treatments for Malaria
Yoga and Naturopathy can be used as natural treatments for malaria. Neem water enema can be used for malarial treatment. A cold hip bath for 15 to 20 minutes can give relief. Mud Pack to abdomen and eyes can be given to ease the symptoms of malaria. Practicing vaman Dhauti with Neem water helps to give relief from malaria. A boiled mix of ginger (5gram), Tulsi decoction (15 leaves), pepper (10), and jaggery and turmeric powder is prepared and gives the patient 4 to 5 times a day to have a good result. During shivering, an ice bag should be kept over the head and hot water bags over the palm and sole. A warm bath should be preferred.
Malaria prevention is one of the vital questions before the people as well as the governments. Malaria is a preventable disease. Utmost precautions should also be taken, especially during the rainy season where the female anopheles mosquitoes are rampant. If we follow the given rules and regulations, the disease malaria can be controlled to a larger extent. The different key intervention to control malaria is:
- Use mosquito nets
- Use mosquito repellent creams, liquids, coils, mats etc. even at day time while sleeping.
- Prevent entry of mosquitoes into house
- Use screened windows and doors
- Spray of insecticides to control the mosquito.
- Water from coolers should be washed at least once in a week.
- In rainy seasons and humid conditions, petrol or kerosene oil may be poured into the water cooler if it is not washed after one week. However, it must be washed by the two weeks.
- Unnecessary items where there is a possibility of water collection must be discarded.
- Spray should be done on regular basis at water pooled area to eliminate mosquito breeding.
- Do not wear clothes that exposed arms and legs.
- Garbage shouldn’t be thrown at open areas. It should dump at the covered drum.
- Do not allow children to play outdoors in shorts and half.
- Pregnant women should avoid traveling to malaria-risk areas.
The following precautions should be adapted to control and combat malaria
- Hygiene conditions should be maintained around the house.
- Household water should be disposed of properly.
- Avoid water stagnation
- Keep your body covered as much as possible.
- Light and easily digestible foods should be taken during the disease.
- Foods like orange, papaya, Indian Gooseberry, jaggery, and roasted grams should be given to the patients.