Malaria - symptoms

Malaria symptoms at the beginning of the disease are often reminiscent of a common flu infection. Read everything important here!

Malaria - symptoms

Malaria symptomsAt the beginning of the disease often remind of a common flu infection. That's why they are often not taken seriously enough. Basically, you should visit a doctor after a trip to a malaria risk area but head and limb pain, but especially fever. Treating malaria too late can make the disease worse. Read all important information about malaria symptoms here.

ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in doctor's letters or on incapacity certificates. B50B51B54B52B53

Product Overview

Malaria - symptoms

  • Early symptoms

  • Symptom Causes

  • Acute symptoms

  • Symptoms of M. tropica

  • Complications of M. tropica

  • Symptoms of M. tertiana

  • Symptoms of M. quartana

Malaria: symptoms in the initial stage

After infection with Malria pathogens, it does not come directly to the onset of the disease. The period between the infection and the appearance of the first symptoms (incubation period) can be between three days and a few weeks - in rare cases even months - depending on the type of pathogen. Frequently malaria symptoms such as headache and body ache first appear. These are not taken seriously enough by many sufferers or held for a simple flu infection. If you have been to any of the malaria risk areas in recent weeks, you should always consult a doctor immediately if you have the slightest sign of a condition, especially if you have a fever.

The incubation times of malaria are very different and may differ in individual cases greatly from the periods listed here. As a rule, the incubation times of the various forms of malaria are approximately:

  • Malaria tropica: seven to 20 days
  • Malaria tertiana: twelve to 18 days
  • Malaria quartana: 18 to 50 days

Longer incubation times are also possible. This is usually the case when the patient has become infected while taking a drug malaria prophylaxis. The active ingredient makes the body more resistant, but the pathogens still penetrate the body. If the drug malaria prophylaxis is terminated too early, can still multiply in the body pathogens and erupt malaria. Malaria symptoms can appear only after 18 to 24 months. Especially in the case of malaria quartana, such long incubation times are possible, since in this variant pathogen permanent forms can form in the liver (hypnozoites). The parasites can then suddenly be reactivated, migrate into the bloodstream and trigger another malaria.

How do malaria symptoms develop?

Malaria pathogens (plasmodia) infect the red blood cells (erythrocytes) and multiply in them. After a while, the blood cell bursts and releases the new plasmodia. The destruction of the red blood cells then triggers the typical fever.

The released plasmodium infects additional red blood cells and multiply again. Thus, in the case of malaria, a fever rush follows on the next, depending on the type of pathogens at characteristic intervals. The disease is very stressful for the human organism. It can be particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and the chronically ill.

Malaria: symptoms of acute infection

If malaria symptoms remain untreated, they worsen as the disease progresses. The constant fever episodes and the rapid increase of the malaria pathogens cause that various organs can be damaged. Severe malaria causes death in about 20 percent of cases. If a pregnant woman suffers from malaria, the unborn child is also at risk. As a general rule, after a stay in a malaria risk area, you should see a doctor for a few weeks (depending on the area and the pathogens there for a few months) if you have any symptoms of fever.

Malaria: symptoms of malaria tropica

Malaria tropica is the most dangerous form of malaria. Symptoms are more severe here than in other forms and significantly weaken the organism. Malaria tropica is caused by the Plasmodium falciparum and is responsible for about 80 percent of all cases.

The malaria tropica is characterized by particularly severe courses. About two percent of all those affected die despite treatment in this form. Without treatment, it is even 20 percent. The malaria tropica is so severe because the pathogen Plasmodium falciparum both young and older red blood cells attacks (unlimited parasitemia) and therefore destroyed many of them.

First symptoms of malaria tropica are usually headache and body aches, fatigue and a slightly elevated temperature. Those affected feel limp and feverish.Typical of the malaria tropica is a very irregular fever course, while in other malaria forms, the fever occurs at regular intervals. In children Malaria tropica causes a very high fever, in adults the temperature is usually below 39.5 degrees.

Within a few hours to two days of the onset of the first signs, diarrhea may occur in this dangerous form of malaria.

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    First-aid kit - this is pure

    I go on vacation and pack a: a first aid kit! But what should one forget in any case, so that for every situation something is in the luggage? In every first-aid kit painkillers and fever belong! But beware: If you travel to countries where dengue fever or yellow fever occurs, blood thinners such as acetylsalicylic acid or diclofenac are unsuitable. Paracetamol is recommended here.

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    Must have: Fieberthermometer! Especially in countries with malaria risk, it is necessary to keep an eye on the body temperature. Please note: Thermometers made of glass are unsuitable as they break easily.

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    dressing material

    Also not missing is dressing material! For large and small wound care: Take plaster, sterile wound compresses, gauze bandages, elastic bandages, adhesive tape, scissors, splinter tweezers and triangular scarf.

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    Wound disinfectant

    You also need a wound disinfectant. You can use it to disinfect wounds, but also to disinfect other objects.

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    Individually necessary drugs

    Also think about individually necessary medicines! Do you have a chronic illness? Take medicines or alternative remedies you need on a daily basis, in your hand luggage. Are you inclined to certain complaints? Equip your first-aid kit with medicines for allergies, heartburn, fungal infections (vaginal fungus, athlete's foot) or cold sores. It is best to take a preparation that has helped you earlier.

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    malaria tablets

    Also useful are: malaria tablets! In most malarial areas it is sufficient to have a drug for an emergency - if the Anopheles mosquito repudiates. Best simply preventively use insect repellent.

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    Insect repellents

    Insect repellents can also be useful. Good sting protection is particularly important in areas where e.g. Malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever or Japanese encephalitis are common. For example, preparations containing the active ingredient diethyltoluamide (DEET) are recommended. On the other hand, agents based on essential oils such as tea tree oil, lemon oil or coconut oil have a weaker and shorter effect and are therefore not recommended in such risk areas.

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    Be sure to remember sunscreen! This not only avoids annoying sunburn, it also prevents possible long-term consequences such as skin cancer. The strength of the sunscreen is selected according to your destination and skin type. For mild burns, a good aprรจs cream or an antihistamine, preferably as a cooling gel. For severe redness, a thin cortisone lotion or cream is suitable in the short term.

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    Medicines for eye complaints

    Useful are also medicines for eye complaints. On vacation, there is much to see. However, dust, wind or light often cause conjunctivitis when traveling. Sunglasses are therefore a must. In the case of cases decongestant eye drops have a soothing effect. Even so-called "artificial tears" help with mild irritation and dry eyes. If the eye irritation is allergic, antiallergic eye drops are suitable.

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    Medicines for sore throat

    Caught a cold? Even that can happen on trips - it is not always in the warm south. In case of throat infections, medicines with a disinfecting effect can bring relief. Often these drugs also contain an analgesic drug. In case of severe pain and fever you should always consult a doctor.

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    Medicines for colds

    By air conditioning in hotel and bus you get quickly a cold. In a snout or paranasal sinus inflammation, pressure equalization in the aircraft is difficult. Decongestant nasal sprays are then important to prevent ear pain or even inner ear damage.

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    Medicines for bruises and strains

    Also drugs for bruises and strains belong in the first aid kit. Because mishaps can happen even on vacation. First and foremost, the right first aid measures are important. Anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain and reduce swelling. If symptoms persist, you should consult a doctor.

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    Medicines for itching

    At the lake or outside when grilling, you quickly caught a few mosquito bites. Then cooling ointments help against the itching. In wasp or bee stings, allergic reactions may occur.Appropriate drugs not only counteract the itching, but also the reaction of the immune system. They are either ingested or applied locally to the skin area.

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    Medicines for constipation

    Unusual environment and foreign food - and already pushes the stomach. Constipation is best counteracted by drinking enough and eating fiber-rich foods. Tip: A large portion of fruit with dried plums, figs, melons or ripe papaya tastes and works. If you are unsuccessful with these simple measures, it is good to have a mild laxative.

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    Medicines for diarrhea

    There is not always a rescue toilet nearby - but you can prevent diarrhea if you pay attention to food and drinking water hygiene. High fluid loss is the biggest risk of diarrhea, especially for children, pregnant women and the elderly. The most important measure is therefore the replacement of water and salts with an electrolyte powder. By the way: The old recipe "Cola and pretzel sticks" is unsuitable and can even make the diarrhea worse.

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    Medicines for nausea

    If you are plagued by travel sickness, you may take a drug before you travel. With sudden nausea quickly effective chewing gum preparations help. But beware: many of these drugs make you tired. An exception is the prescription scopolamine, which is stuck to the skin as a patch. Against other causes of nausea acts the also prescription metoclopramide.

Malaria symptoms and complications

In severe cases, life-threatening complications can occur. This is almost exclusively with an infection with Malaria tropica In the case, complications of malaria tertiana and quartana are rare.

In about one percent of all cases, the pathogens invade the central nervous system one (cerebral malaria). Small brain haemorrhages occur, which can lead to disturbance of consciousness, paralysis, convulsions and ultimately to coma and death.

The most common complications of malaria tropica include damage to the malaria spleen, One of the tasks of the spleen is to break down old or damaged red blood cells. In malaria, the pathogens destroy massive erythrocytes so that the spleen has to do hard labor - it enlarges itself (splenomegaly). If it exceeds a critical size, the spleen capsule can rupture. This leads to heavy bleeding ("Tropical Splenomegaly Syndrome).

In about seven percent of malaria cases is also the lung also affected. Common complications include pulmonary edema (accumulation of water in the lungs). Almost as common is a disorder of the kidneys that are no longer adequately supplied with blood. The resulting renal failure is reversible. This means that after the acute infection the kidneys usually resume their normal activity.

Other serious complications include anemia (anemia), paralysis, liver failure and heart muscle damage. The death by multi-organ failure can occur after a few days.

Pregnant women and children are also at risk of having malaria tropica associated with hypoglycaemia. Hypoglycaemia means that the blood sugar level is too low. A greatly reduced blood sugar can also be life-threatening in malaria. Symptoms are weakness, dizziness, cravings and seizures.

Malaria: symptoms of malaria tertiana

Malaria tertiana is less common than malaria tropica. The malaria symptoms are usually much weaker. First signs of malaria tertiana is a sudden onset of fever. In the further course, about every 48 hours, new fever episodes occur, accompanied by sweating and shivering. Each fever rush lasts about three to four hours. The malaria tertiana got its name from this three-day rhythm of the fever: day one with fever, day two without fever and day three again with fever. Without treatment, symptoms of malaria can last for many weeks.

Malaria: symptoms of malaria quartana

Malaria quartana is more difficult to recognize because of its symptoms than the other forms of malaria. Symptoms (especially fever) occur every 72 hours (every third day). The malaria quartana got its name due to this four-day rhythm. The temperature can rise up to 40 degrees and be accompanied by severe chills. After about three hours, the fever stops under heavy sweats.

Complications of malaria quartana are kidney damage or splenic rupture. Since resistant infants live in the liver in Malaria quartana, survive there for many years and can suddenly be reactivated, even years after the actual infection in this form of the Malaria symptoms occur.

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