Symptoms and Prevention of Malaria for Travellers

There are numerous countries around the world where the malaria risk is very high. These tend to be places that are humid, which would mean that they generally have a large mosquito population. It is typically mosquitos that spread this virus, and they do so very effectively.

Malaria is incredibly dangerous, and without proper prevention and treatment, it can be fatal. Let’s look at the warning signs of the malaria virus once it infects a person and what you can do to treat it as you travel the world.

Symptoms of Malaria

Malaria looks like the flu at first, in many cases. The most common initial symptoms are nausea, vomiting, headaches, high fever, sweating and diarrhoea. These may be followed by abdominal pain, bloody stool, anaemia and even a coma.

In later stages, malaria can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs that will prevent you from breathing properly. It can also make the brain’s blood vessels to swell up to a size that is fatal for you. Organ failure may also result from malaria infection, and the spleen, kidney and liver can all fail because of how malaria affects them. Low blood sugar caused by the infection can also lead to death if it is not treated properly.

Different types of parasites causing the malaria infection may create different symptoms and medical conditions in the body, which can cause complications that alter the symptoms and how the virus affects you. Just because you only have one or two of these symptoms and not all of them, that doesn’t mean that you should treat it as the flu or a fever. If you have been in a tropical location or somewhere that malaria is present recently, then you should consider any of the above symptoms a serious risk.

How to Treat Malaria

These symptoms can all be treated, but you need to receive that treatment promptly. The doctor may ask you about your medical history and try to determine if you have visited any areas that are known to be malaria infested, such as tropical environments.  

There are different kinds of malaria, caused by different kinds of parasites. Some of them may be resistant to most treatment methods, so unconventional treatment may be required. The doctor will treat your condition differently based on what kind of parasite is causing the infection.

The treatment may start with general malaria tablets, but as the doctor realizes the drugs are not working and that the parasite is resistant, then the methods and medication your doctor uses on you may change.

Quinine, quinidine, chloroquine and similar drugs are used to destroy the parasite and remove the infection. The kind of drug used will depend on which parasite you have, and there is usually a drug that can effectively kill each kind of parasite that is causing malaria. If you are pregnant or suffer from certain medical conditions or drug allergies, the doctor’s methods of treatment may have to change, and your chances of getting through malaria may decrease. Most treatments for malaria are oral medications, but patients suffering from severe cases of P. falciparum can be treated with intravenous drugs.

Malaria can typically be treated successfully, if your care is good, and the doctor can treat you shortly after infection. If you allow the condition to worsen, then your chances of making it through the infection alive will drastically decrease. That is why it is so important to receive medical care as soon possible after you start seeing the symptoms. If you have visited a tropical area recently or someplace that is known to have malaria, then you should be cautious about any symptoms that could be malariasymptoms and treat them as if they are until you know for sure.


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