Subscribe to Email Updates

A day in the life of a patient suffering from Malaria

malaria.png

I just had a bout of severe chills. From the past few days, I get severe chills and fever in the evening, which is often followed by sweating. You must have guessed that I am suffering from a very common infective disease, malaria. I am trying to cope with the annoying symptoms of this disease. This is how I'm living with Malaria since I contacted this disease.

Waking up in the morning

Mosquito bites must have been the reason why I am suffering from malaria. It is transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito.

Luckily, the fever comes up only in the evening. The doctor told me that some patients might get a fever during the daytime. But, it’s common to get it in the evening preceded by chills and followed by excessive sweating. But, this doesn’t mean my mornings are pleasant and symptom-free. I do get severe headache in the morning. It could be a sign of weakness.

Starting the day

I am advised to take enough rest and drink plenty of water if I want to remove the symptoms of this disease. So, I avoid getting up too early like usual. I have to skip my morning exercises due to Malaria. It’s definitely not advisable to go out during the chilling hours of the morning when you are down with a fever.

Also, sometimes I feel nauseated and even get vomiting. So, it’s best to avoid going out. The doctor has informed me that I must visit him at the earliest in case I get severe headache, high fever, and continuous vomiting. These could be the sign that the malarial infection has spread to the brain and caused meningitis.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

I avoid eating fatty, and spicy foods to prevent gastritis. I am taking antimalarial medications, which are known to cause hyperacidity. Hence, the doctor has advised me to eat bland foods. This also helps to prevent nausea and vomiting. I am also eating spinach and other iron-rich foods to prevent iron-deficiency anemia, which is common in the patients suffering from malaria.

Nowadays, I have my dinner a bit late in the evening. I get fever almost every day in the evening. I feel very weak even after the fever has subsided. So, I have to wait till I feel a little better before I can have dinner.

Going to work and taking medications

I will not be able to go to the office till I am completely fine. I should be able to resume my work within a few days provided there are no complications. Most patients with malaria recover completely within a week or so. So, at present, I have to focus on taking my medicines properly, eating a healthy diet, and taking enough rest.
The doctor has prescribed me antimalarial medications, Artemisinins, which apparently is one of the best cure for this disease.

He has informed me that I may need to follow the Artemisinin-combination therapy or ACT in which the use of Artemisinins is combined with other antimalarial drugs. He has assured me that ACT is effective is almost 90% of the uncomplicated cases of malaria. Additionally, he has also advised me to take paracetamol to control fever and anti-emetics to prevent vomiting.

Prevention of complications

Till now, everything looks to be fine. I am hopeful that I will not develop any complications. If you thought that Malaria is a very mild infection; you are wrong! It is known to cause several life-threatening complications like cerebral malaria, pulmonary edema, anemia, and even multiple organ failure of the liver, kidneys, and spleen. Hopefully, the medications I am taking will help me recover from this illness without developing such consequences.

What are the daily limitations and what are the fears?

As the evening approaches, I start feeling the chills and fever within my body. I cannot bear even the slightest breeze of air. It takes me just a few seconds to start shivering with severe chills. I have to cover myself with a thick blanket till the symptoms subside. However, it is invariably followed by fever. Due to these symptoms, I have started dreading evenings. 

What would be my life with malaria in the future?

The outlook of malaria doesn’t seem to be too dangerous. If my body responds well to the antimalarial medications, I should be able to recover completely within just a week. But, I am aware that the long-term outlook for the patients having malaria due to the drug-resistant parasites can be poor.

They may develop serious complications due to the affection of the brain, kidneys, liver, and the spleen. My future depends on how well my body responds to the antimalarial treatment I am taking.

What are the risk factors?

It is clear to me why I am suffering from this infection. Last week, there were heavy rains in the city. The drainage system in my city is not very good. I could see puddles of water at every nook and corner. This must have given an opportunity to the mosquitoes to breed and spread malarial parasites.

I found out another fact about malaria that I was not aware of. The doctor told me that this infection does not spread only through the mosquito bite. It can also spread during an organ transplant or blood transfusion.

The cause and evolution of malaria

I started experiencing the symptoms of malaria about 3 to 4 days back. Within this short period, I have developed severe weakness. I feel like being in bed as much as possible. Getting up just to go to the restroom seems like a great effort. But, the good thing is malaria usually resolves within a week. A small percentage of patients may develop the complications like meningitis, convulsions, renal failure, and anemia.

What are the psychological effects when you have this disease?

I am trying to cope with the symptoms of Malaria only with the hope of recovering faster. But, thinking of the consequences, I may have to bear in case the disease progresses, makes me very nervous. I am keeping my fingers crossed. I just hope I am not one of those unfortunate patients who suffer from serious complications due to this infection.

Topics: Malaria

Dr. Jyothi Shenoy

Written by Dr. Jyothi Shenoy

Dr. Jyothi Shenoy is a doctor having a clinical experience of more than 15 years. She has an expertise in treating acute and chronic diseases like obesity, IBS, asthma, arthritis, Autism, ADHD, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, allergies, cancer, infections, and skin diseases. She believes in treating the patients in a holistic manner. She aims at educating the patients about the illness and providing tips related to their lifestyle and diet to ensure a long-term relief from the disease and preventing its recurrence.