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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is malaria?
Malaria is a disease that is caused by a parasite. It is usually spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Malaria can also spread through infected blood products or shared needles.
What increases my risk for malaria?
Your risk is increased if you live in or travel to an area where malaria is common. Your risk also increases if you have a weak immune system. This includes pregnant women, infants and children, and people with HIV.
What are the signs and symptoms of malaria?
- Shaking chills
- Headache and muscle pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or diarrhea
How is malaria diagnosed?
You may need blood tests to show which kind of malaria you have. Blood tests may also show any damage to your organs. A chest x-ray may also be needed. These tests will help your healthcare provider plan the best treatment for you.
How is malaria treated?
- Malaria medicine is given to kill the parasites that are causing your infection.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
How can malaria be prevented?
- Use an insect repellant. Apply an insect repellant to your skin, clothing, and other fabrics, such as blankets. Ask your healthcare provider which insect repellant is best to use.
- Cover your skin. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to keep your skin covered.
- Sleep under a mosquito net. Spray insect repellant on your mosquito net. Check your net for holes often.
- Protect your home. Put screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. Use insecticide inside your home to kill mosquitoes that come into your house.
- Remove all standing water around your home. Mosquitoes lay their eggs and mature in water.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- You have a seizure.
- You have sudden shortness of breath.
When should I call my doctor?
- You have a severe headache.
- You are confused or sleepier than usual.
- Your skin and the whites of your eyes are yellow.
- Your signs and symptoms get worse or do not go away, even after treatment.
- Your signs and symptoms return after treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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