World Malaria Day: Know the causes, symptoms and prevention tips

The World Health Organization estimates that India has 15 million cases of malaria with 19,500–20,000 deaths annually vs. 2 million cases and 1,000 deaths reported (Kumar, 2024). So, it can be stated that although malaria is curable and the medicine of malaria was discovered a long ago, it is a fact that malaria is still one of the major issues our health sector is dealing with. In this blog, we will inform you about the causes, symptoms and prevention tips for malaria. So that, you can take care of yourself and your loved ones as well. Connect with Neotia Getwel Multispecialty Hospital for 24*7 emergency care and the best medical assistance.

What is malaria?

Malaria is a serious disease that spreads when you’re bitten by a mosquito infected by tiny parasites. Through bites, mosquitoes insert malaria parasites into your bloodstream. Malaria is caused by parasites, not by a virus or by a type of bacterium.

It can be treated with medicine. However, if left untreated, malaria can cause severe health problems such as seizures, brain damage, trouble breathing, organ failure and death.

What are the causes of malaria?

The main cause of malaria is mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites a malaria patient and then it bites a normal human being, the malaria parasite gets transmitted.

There, the parasites multiply. Five types of malaria parasites can infect humans.

In rare cases, people who are pregnant and who have malaria can transfer the disease to their children before or during birth.

It’s possible, for malaria to be passed through blood transfusions, organ donations and hypodermic needles. However, that can be avoided by accessing trusted and reputed hospitals or caregivers.

What are the signs and symptoms of malaria?

The signs and symptoms of malaria are similar to flu symptoms. They include:

  • Fever and sweating.
  • Chills that shake your whole body.
  • Headache and muscle aches.
  • Fatigue.
  • Chest pain, breathing problems and cough.
  • Diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

In most of the cases, a fever cycle is seen. The classic fever cycle of malaria usually lasts 6–10 hours and recurs every second day.

It involves:

  • Chills and shivering.
  • Fever, headaches, and vomiting, possibly with seizures in young children.
  • A sweating stage.
  • A return to usual temperatures that accompanies fatigue.
What is severe malaria?

Again, malaria can be treated from the first stage. However, with time and ignorance, it can turn into severe malaria. At this point, malaria parasites have affected over 5% of the red blood cells.

Symptoms include:

  • Severe anaemia.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Changes in blood clotting.
  • Impaired consciousness.
  • Changes in behaviour.
  • High acidity in the blood and body fluids.
  • Seizures.
  • Coma.

Severe malaria is life-threatening and it needs urgent medical attention.

Can malaria cause any kind of complications?

Possible complications of malaria include:

  • Liver failure, which can lead to jaundice.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Unusually low blood glucose.
  • Swelling and rupturing of the spleen.
  • Shock, which includes a sudden fall in blood pressure.
  • Pulmonary oedema, where fluid builds up in the lungs.
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome, which affects breathing.
  • Dehydration.
What are the treatments for malaria?

With early treatment, most people with malaria will make a full recovery.

Treatment for individuals with the disease includes:

  • Medication to eliminate the parasite from the bloodstream.
  • Supportive care.
  • Hospitalization for those with severe symptoms.
  • Intensive care, in some cases.

The main antimalarial drugs are:

  • Chloroquine.
  • Hydroxychloroquine.
  • Primaquine.
  • Artemisinin-based therapy.
  • Atovaquone-proguanil.

The treatment period usually lasts 2 days.

However, the type of medication and length of treatment may vary, depending on the type of plasmodium that caused malaria.

  • How severe are the symptoms?
  • Where did the person catch malaria?
  • If they took antimalarial drugs before
  • If the person is pregnant

Please note that we have mentioned some of the malaria medicines here. However, do not go for self-medication ever. It can be life-threatening, too. Take medicines only after the advice of a medical practitioner.

What are the preventive measures for malaria?

Prevention is better than cure. It is not just an idiom; it is the truth of our lives. So, here are some preventive measures that you can take to save yourself from malaria.

  • Being aware of the risk.
  • Taking antimalarial tablets when travelling to an area where malaria occurs.
  • Getting a prompt diagnosis and treatment if someone thinks they may have the disease.
  • Drape mosquito netting over beds.
  • Put screens on windows and doors.
  • Treat clothing, mosquito nets, tents, sleeping bags and other fabrics with an insect repellent called permethrin.
  • Apply mosquito repellent with DEET (diethyltoluamide) to exposed skin.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves to cover your skin.
Are there any side effects of the medicines for malaria?

Well, it is true that you can suffer from some sort of side effect after consuming the medicines to treat malaria. We are informing you of this so that you can connect with your doctor and take measures to treat them all. Depending on the medication, side effects may include:

Gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as nausea and diarrhoea.

  • Headaches.
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Insomnia and disturbing dreams.
  • Psychological disorders and vision problems.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Seizures.
  • Anaemia.
Some common FAQs:

What are the most common symptoms of malaria?

Some common symptoms are fever, chills, headaches, sweats, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, body aches and generally feeling sick.

What is the best prevention of malaria?

Well, the best prevention is avoiding mosquito bites. Wear long-sleeve clothes, use mosquito repellents, install mosquito preventive nets at home, etc.

How can we prevent malaria at home?

Use mosquito repellents while sleeping. If you are allergic to them, you can use mosquito nets to avoid being bitten by a mosquito. Wear long-sleeved clothes and full-length pants while going out of the house. Drink clean, purified water only, especially when travelling.

How is malaria spread?

Malaria is spread by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Malaria may also be spread by the transfusion of blood from infected people or by the use of contaminated (dirty) needles or syringes. So, always trust reputed caregivers.

Final words: Malaria can be prevented or easily treated. However, any kind of ignorance can make this a life-threatening issue. So, connect with a professional at the right time. Connect with Neotia Getwel Multispecialty Hospital for 24*7 emergency care and the best medical assistance.


Though all attempts are made to provide correct information on the subject, inadvertent and typographical errors arising out of manual intervention cannot be ruled out. It is requested to bring any such discrepancies to the notice of the blogger for correction.