what is Malaria

What is Malaria?

To diagnose malaria, your doctor may be reviewing your medical history, performing a physical exam and requesting blood tests. Blood tests are the only way to confirm the diagnosis of malaria. Some blood tests can help your doctor by showing:


Presence of the parasite in the blood, to make sure you have malaria
What kind of malaria parasite causes your symptoms
If the infection is caused by a parasite resistant to some drugs
Other blood tests help determine if the disease is causing any serious complications.

Some blood tests may take several days to complete, while other tests can produce results in less than 15 minutes.


Treatment or treatment

Malaria is treated with drugs prescribed to kill the parasite. The types of medications vary and the length of treatment, depending on:

What kind of malaria parasite you have
The severity of your symptoms
Your age
Whether you are pregnant
Drugs
The most common antimalarial drugs include:

Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Antiretroviral drugs are, in many cases, the first treatment for malaria. There are several different types of ACTs. Examples include Artemether-Lomifantrine (Coartem) and Artiodon amodiazine. Each ACT is a combination of two or more drugs that work against the malaria parasite in different ways.
Chloroquine Phosphate. Chloroquine is the preferred treatment for any drug sensitive parasite. But in many parts of the world, parasites that cause malaria are resistant to chloroquine, and the drug is no longer an effective treatment.
Other common anti-malarial drugs include:

A combination of atovaquone and proguanil (Malarone)
Qualaquin sulfate with doxycycline (Vibramycin, Monodox, others)
Fluoxin
Primaquin Phosphate
Possible future treatments
New anti-malarial drugs are being researched and developed. Malaria treatment is characterized by an ongoing struggle between advanced drug resistant parasites and the search for new pharmaceutical combinations. For example, one group of malaria parasites showed resistance to almost all available antimalarial drugs.


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Prepare for your appointment
If you suspect you have malaria or have been exposed, you are more likely to start with your family doctor. However, in some cases when you call to make an appointment, you may be referred to an infectious disease specialist. If you have severe symptoms - especially during or after traveling in a malaria-infested area - seek emergency medical care.


What you can do

Before your appointment, you may want to write a list that answers the following questions:

What are your symptoms, and when did you start?
Have you recently traveled to a malaria-infested area?
Have you ever had malaria before?
What types of medications and supplements do you take?
What to expect from your doctor
During physical examination, your doctor may review your medical history, listen to your breathing, examine the spleen and nerve function, and look for other causes of fever.

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