People are always faced with a common misconception that malaria is a very minor issue. But this misconception has thrown different individuals to the world of no return. Have you ever thought how dangerous HIV is?
To me, that’s how appalling and horrendous malaria is! The unacceptable and bitter truth to many is that malaria is a dreadful health condition which needs immediate and tremendously effortful treatment; else, the state of the child involved is absolutely wallowing.
What exactly is malaria? What are the symptoms of malaria in children? And how can it be treated? This article will without fail dwell on these questions.
What is Malaria?
Malaria is an infection (disease) caused by a mosquito, in which a protozoan, Plasmodium, multiplies in blood every few days. This disease is passed from person to person. If left untreated, malaria can be as deadly as HIV, and children are most at risk. Malaria kills one child every 30 seconds and over 1 million children die of malaria every year- mostly children under 5-years old. In children below the age of 5 (infants) this disease is very unusual and severe. In fact, malaria is the leading cause of mortality among children under 5 years of age in Africa.
What Causes Malaria?
Malaria is caused if a mosquito which has been infected with the Plasmodium parasite bites an individual. The Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria is neither a virus nor a bacterium. Rather, it’s a single-celled parasite that multiplies in the mosquito intestine and in the red blood cells of humans. There are four kinds of malaria parasites that can infect humans. They are:
Malaria is transmitted by blood. Consequently, it can be contracted through:
A blood transfusion
Use of shared needles or syringes
From mother to child
Malaria Symptoms in Children
There is many a symptom showing that a child has contracted malaria.
Fever is the most common of all. Early symptoms include fever. As soon as the fever ends and as the child’s body begins to return to normal, he/she experiences an intense episode of sweating. Malaria is a dangerous cause of fever in children. Fever is a symptom, not a disease. It’s just the body’s response to infections.
The child also experiences a poor appetite, maybe battling insomnia.
Also, if the child is drowsy, this is a symptom that he/she has contracted the infection.
Nausea and constipation are also other symptoms that show up when your child (ren) is battling malaria.
Other times, your child complains of a severe headache. This could also be a symptom of the infection.
Some children may be feeling extreme weakness and muscle aches.
While some children don’t experience vomiting, others do. This is another symptom some children show up.
Other symptoms include pains in the abdomen, back, and joints. If the child complains about pains the abdomen, back, and joints, then you ought to understand that he is battling malaria.
Some kids might lose consciousness.
In children, the 3 to 4 days cycle of the rise in fever followed by a lot of sweating continues for weeks and can even cross a month.
Children older than 5 years usually experience symptoms similar to adults like cold, chills, shivering and then it continues to the next stage of the fever- in which it leaves the body skin hot and dry.
The good news is that malaria can be diagnosed and treated. Doctors suspect malaria based on a person’s symptoms. Blood samples of the child would be taken to be checked under a microscope for malaria parasites. These parasites are then seen inside the red blood cells of the child.
Malaria is treated with anti-malarial drugs given by mouth, by injection, or intravenously (into the veins). Depending on the parasite causing malaria, a person might be treated as an outpatient over a few days or in the hospital with IV medicine.