Malaria is a disease of the blood that is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which is transmitted from person to person by a particular type of mosquito.Medicines usually can treat the illness. But some malaria parasites may survive because they are in your liver or they are resistant to the medicine.
THE ANOPHELES MOSQUITO
- The female Anopheles mosquito is the only mosquito that transmits malaria.
- She primarily bites between the hours of 9pm and 5am, which is why sleeping under a mosquito net at night is such an important method of prevention.
THE MALARIA PARASITE
There are more than 100 species of malaria parasite. The most deadly – and most common in Africa - is known as Plasmodium falciparum.
- Once the parasite enters the human body, it lodges itself in the liver where it multiplies approximately 10,000 times.
- Two weeks after entering the body, the parasite bursts into the blood stream where it begins infecting red blood cells.
- Symptoms begin 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, although a person may feel ill as early as 7 days later.
- Symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting.
HOW IT KILLS
- If drugs are not available or if the parasites are resistant to them, malaria infection can develop to anemia, hypoglycemia or cerebral malaria, in which capillaries carrying blood to the brain are blocked.
- Cerebral malaria can cause coma, life-long-learning disabilities, and death.
TRAVELERS AND MALARIA
- Malaria was eliminated in the U.S. in 1951, however, 1,500 cases are still diagnosed here annually, caused by returning travelers.
- If traveling to a malaria-risk country, consult your health-care provider on appropriate malaria prevention interventions, like antimalarial drugs.
- Travelers that become ill with flu-like symptoms, either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after returning home, should seek immediate medical attention and share their travel history.
Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are the frontline treatment for malaria. A full course of life-saving malaria treatment costs just $1 and cures a child in one to three days.
Long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets (LLINs) prevent malaria by creating a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when transmissions occur, and can cover two people per net.Indoor Residual Spraying, or spraying on the inside walls of homes helps kill mosquitoes and reduce the rate of malaria transmission.Scientists and organizations around the world are working together to accelerate the development of a malaria vaccine and ensure its availability in the developing world.
Get medical help right away if you have been in an area where malaria is present, were exposed to mosquitoes, and get symptoms that are like the flu. These include a high fever, chills, and muscle pain.
Affecting more than 200 million people around the world every year, malaria is a terrible mosquito-borne infectious disease that kills an average of 500,000 people each year. The majority of the cases occur around the equator in tropical and subtropical regions, and it is a particularly dangerous disease in Africa. In fact, visitors to many South American, African, Asian and Caribbean countries are strongly urged or even required to take anti-malarial medication before coming to the country, to prevent infection. The disease is transferred through the mosquito’s saliva when it bites you, after the mosquito has been infected by various types of parasitic microorganisms. Those parasites migrate to the liver and begin to reproduce, which is when the symptoms begin – about 10-15 days after the initial bite.
Symptoms include vomiting, fatigue, weakness, fever, headaches, jaundice and convulsions, most severely when the infection comes from Plasmodium falciparum. This can often result in respiratory distress (25-40% of cases), encephalopathy, low blood sugar, shock, spontaneous bleeding and even death. The remaining four species of Plasmodium capable of infecting humans generally cause mild symptoms of the illness. There is a very well established treatment regimen for malaria, as it affects so many people in such concentrated areas of the world, but excess use of anti-malarial drugs has also become a problem in terms of drug resistance. For this reason and many others, people have identified and relied on various natural remedies for generations. Many of these home and herbal treatments lack the side effects of powerful antimalarial drugs, which makes them far more appealing. Now, let’s take a closer look at 10 of the best natural remedies for malaria.
Ginger: A common and popular treatment for malaria is the use of ginger; fortunately, ginger is easy to access, particularly in many tropical areas, and can be boiled down into a powerful decoction that will boost your immune system and help to speed the recovery process from the infection. Ginger and its active ingredients – gingerol and unique hydrocarbons – are known for their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities in the body, making this one of the most effective natural remedies.
Grapefruit: There is a powerful substance found in grapefruit, similar to quinine, that has been directly linked to neutralizing those malaria-inducing parasites. You can extract this substance for a concentrated dose, or simply add some delicious grapefruit to your daily diet. Grapefruits are widely available in tropical areas, and can do wonders for promoting overall health and rapid recovery.
Cinnamon: One of the best ways to get rid of malaria is to tackle its symptoms, namely fever, headaches and diarrhea. Cinnamon is a comprehensive remedy, as it can help to improve multiple symptoms of the disease at the same time. Cinnamon has a powerful organic component, cinnamaldehyde, which has anti-inflammatory properties and has been connected to a reduction in malaria’s often violent and painful symptoms.
Citrus Fruits: Although this is a rather vague suggestion, citrus fruits in general are often recommended for the treatment of malaria. Limes and lemons are easy to get a hold of in many malaria hot spots, and the mixture of antioxidant compounds, vitamins and minerals can help eliminate fever, prevent the spread of the infection, and speed up the healing process. Mixing a few drops of lime and an entirely squeezed lemon into a glass of water is a popular approach, or just take a bite of those tart, healthy fruits!
Fever Nut: Fever nut is a popular herbal remedy in India and the surrounding countries, as the seeds of this nut contain powerful active ingredients that can help to break your fever and boost your immune system. When a fever breaks, it is essentially the first step towards recovery, and fever nut (as its name implies) has been helping people survive malaria for hundreds of years.
Holy Basil: To reduce the symptoms and severity of malaria, people have turned to holy basil for many years; eugenol is the active ingredient in holy basil, and is largely responsible for its therapeutic properties, helping to eliminate bacterial infections. Different parts of this plant are used for dozens of different Ayurvedic remedies, making it extremely important in Asian countries that deal with many malaria cases.
Orange Juice: Vitamin C is known as an incredible immune system booster, and this has certainly proven true in the treatment of malaria. Since it can be difficult to keep food down while suffering through malaria, many people choose to go on a water and orange juice diet, in order to keep the body hydrated and promote a concentrated immune system attack on the infection. After a few days of this, other foods can be added back in, but the antioxidant and immune-system boosting effects of vitamin C are often enough to kickstart the recovery process.
Warm Water Enema: Malaria can also infect the bowels, which is why diarrhea is such a common symptom, so it is important to keep the bowels clean, and not provide a new place for the parasite to thrive. A warm water enema can keep the bowels clean and healthy, while also cutting back on inflammation and discomfort during the many bathroom trips a malaria sufferer will inevitably need.
Mosquito Avoidance: The best way to treat malaria is to never catch it in the first place, but to avoid mosquitoes in the tropical world is difficult, to say the least. Powerful bug spray (specifically those good for mosquitoes) is essential if you’re spending anytime in the wilderness of these risky areas. Furthermore, you should add mosquito netting to your bed and windows, so you can sleep soundly, knowing that you won’t wake up in two weeks with the symptoms of malaria. You should also ensure that there are no large pools of standing water near your home, as those are the perfect places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs!
Natural Diet: After you get past the liquid flush diet and have your immune system back in action, you should switch to a purely natural diet of fruits for some time. This constant burst of natural fiber and vitamins, as well as the antibacterial and antibiotic properties of fruit, will help push yourself free of the illness and get back to living normally. Finally, adding fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts is the final phase of a natural malaria diet.