Malaria symptoms affect millions of people worldwide, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. This disease is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Despite the fact, that there are treatments and preventive measures, malaria continues to be one of the main causes of death in developing countries, especially affecting children under five years of age and pregnant women. In this article, we will explore the different symptoms that can present in this disease.
Malaria symptoms most common: Fever and chills
High fever and chills are two of the most common symptoms of malaria. These symptoms usually appear in the first days of the disease and can be very intense. The fever can reach 40 °C and be accompanied by cold sweats and chills.
The cause of fever and chills as malaria symptoms is due to the body’s immune system response to infection by the Plasmodium parasite. The parasite invades and destroys red blood cells, releasing toxins into the bloodstream and triggering an inflammatory response in the body.
Why are headaches and muscle aches presented as malaria symptoms?
Headaches and muscle pain are common symptoms of malaria. These symptoms may be caused by the body’s inflammatory response to infection with the Plasmodium parasite, which can lead to an exaggerated immune response.
Headaches in malaria can be very intense and can be felt in the front, temporal, or occipital part of the head. Muscle pain, on the other hand, can affect multiple muscle groups and can be very painful.
They can be treated with pain relievers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, as long as it is recommended by a health professional. Also, resting and staying hydrated can help alleviate symptoms.
It is important to note that self-medication is not recommended, as some drugs can worsen malaria symptoms or interact with antimalarial drugs used to treat malaria.
Can a patient present intense sweating as malaria symptoms?
During a malaria episode, people may experience cold sweats and profuse sweating, especially after the chills phase.
Heavy sweating in malaria is due to the body’s response to fever. Fever is a response of the body’s immune system to infection by the Plasmodium parasite, and can be very high during acute episodes of illness. When the fever begins to subside, the body begins to sweat to cool down and regulate its temperature. This sweating can be very intense and last several hours.
It is essential to keep in mind that intense sweating can also lead to dehydration, especially in hot and humid climates. Therefore, it is relevant to stay hydrated and seek immediate medical attention if you experience cold sweats and profuse sweating; especially if you’ve been to an area where malaria is common.
Fatigue and weakness
As the parasite multiplies inside the red blood cells, they break open and release toxins into the bloodstream. The immune system’s response to these toxins can cause inflammation throughout the body, which in turn can lead to fatigue and weakness.
Also, Plasmodium infection can lead to anemia, which means the body has fewer red blood cells than normal. Anemia can cause decreased oxygen supply to the body’s tissues and organs.
It is also important to note that malaria can have a significant impact on a person’s nutrition and food intake, which can contribute to fatigue and weakness. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain can cause a person to lose their appetite and have a hard time getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Vomiting and nausea
Vomiting and nausea are malaria symptoms that can be caused by various factors.
One of the factors that contribute to vomiting and nausea in malaria is the body’s inflammatory response to infection by the parasite. Which can irritate the lining of the stomach and intestine and cause nausea and vomiting.
In addition, dehydration is also quite likely to be the cause of these two symptoms. It should be taken into account that antimalarial drugs used in the treatment of the disease can cause side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Doctors can prescribe medications to relieve nausea and vomiting and recommend measures to prevent dehydration, such as fluid intake and electrolyte replacement.
Coughs and sore throats as malaria symptoms
Although cough and sore throat are not common malaria symptoms, they can occur in some cases.
Coughs and sore throats can be caused by inflammation of the airways due to the body’s inflammatory response to infection with the Plasmodium parasite. Additionally, malaria can weaken the body’s immune system, which can make a person more susceptible to respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
Keep in mind that malaria can have a significant impact on a person’s nutrition and food intake, which can contribute to coughing and sore throats. Lack of proper nutrition can weaken the immune system and make a person more susceptible to respiratory infections.
It is imperative to seek medical attention immediately if you experience a cough and sore throat as symptoms of malaria, as these symptoms can be indicative of serious complications. These symptoms are usually treated with medications to relieve pain and inflammation, and measures to improve nutrition and strengthen the immune system may be recommended.
Malaria symptoms indicating a serious state:
- Shortness of breath: Malaria can affect the lungs, causing shortness of breath. This can be a sign of serious complications such as pulmonary edema or pneumonia.
- Seizures: Affecting the brain and causing seizures. This can be a sign of serious complications such as cerebral malaria.
- Confusion: Malaria can affect the brain and cause confusion. This can be a sign of serious complications such as cerebral malaria.
- Kidney failure: It can affect the kidneys and this can be a sign of serious complications like nephrotic syndrome.
- Bleeding: Malaria can cause bleeding in different parts of the body, such as the brain, lungs, liver, spleen, and kidneys. Thus occurring disseminated intravascular coagulation.
Tips for medical staff and patients:
For medical staff:
- Carry out an appropriate evaluation: It is important to carry out a complete evaluation of the malaria symptoms and medical history of the patient to determine if malaria is the underlying cause of the symptoms. Blood tests and other tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
- Start treatment quickly: Early treatment is essential to prevent serious complications and save lives. Antimalarial drugs should be started as soon as malaria is suspected, even before test results have been confirmed.
- Use the appropriate antimalarial drugs: The antimalarial drugs used for the treatment of malaria symptoms vary depending on the parasite species and the severity of the disease. It is important to use the appropriate medications based on current guidelines and recommendations.
- Manage symptoms and complications: Malaria patients may experience a variety of symptoms and complications, including fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and anemia. It is important to monitor these symptoms and treat complications as needed.
- Provide supportive care: Malaria patients may need supportive care to prevent dehydration, control fever, and treat symptoms. Intravenous fluids, pain relievers, and medications to relieve nausea and vomiting may be necessary.
- Monitor response to treatment: It is important to monitor the patient’s response to treatment and perform regular follow-up to ensure that the patient makes a full recovery and avoid relapse.
Importantly, seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these malaria symptoms, as they may indicate serious malaria complications that require immediate treatment. It is important to remember that malaria is a life-threatening disease, but with early diagnosis and treatment, most people make a full recovery without serious complications.