Symptoms of malaria


What are the symptoms of malaria?

The symptoms usually appear between the 8-30 first days after infection by the bite of an infected mosquito, but they may occur much later, and even after several months of its contagion.

The time of onset of symptoms is directly related to the type of parasite in question, (between 8-12 days, for Plasmodium falciparum or even 10 months for Plasmodium vivax.)

  • If the infection is caused by the parasite Plasmodium vivax or Plasmodium ovale, the symptoms are recurrent, intermittent.

Still being treated with the appropriate medication (drugs), they are going to be part of patient in latent form in the liver.

  • As time passes, parasites are usually released again and symptoms resubmitted.

The symptoms repeat, appear and disappear, according to the cycles of destruction of the infected red blood cells and the reinfection of those that remained healthy. Therefore, the symptoms appear, vanish and reappear every 2-3 days.

  • Symptoms appear only once if the infection is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium malariae.

Fever comparative graphs for different types of parasites.

Symptoms of the repeated crisis, with four distinct phases

Phase duration Phase symptoms
Initial or prodromal phase
Two to three hours Scattered muscle aches and headaches (headache) with malaise. Possible nausea and vomiting.
Cold phase
From minutes to an hour Uncontrollable tremors and severe chills.
Hot phase
Two to five or six hours Hot feeling with increased body mass temperature that can reach up to the dangerous 41.5 ° C (very high fever for several hours) causing thirst, dryness of the skin and mucous membranes (lips, etc.) and redness.
Final phase or lysis
Two to 4 hours The body starts to sweat to lower body temperature quickly in order to not to suffer more damage. This intense and profuse cold sweating causes a sudden drop in body temperature, with a resulting state of intense fatigue, which produces exhaustion and sleep, causing the person to fall asleep because of the exhaustion suffered.

Complications of malaria

Complications due to lack of proper treatment

The continuous but intermittent destruction of red blood cells effectively prevents the proper oxygen transport.

But it also causes blood clots because of the depleted red blood cells, which can clog the bloodstream, causing, in turn, more complications and adverse repercussions for the patient’s body and health.

Complications arising from this situation can be produced by such serious affectations such as:

  • Respiratory problems such as pulmonary edema.

  • In pregnant women, it can cause abortions, premature birth and even stillbirth.

  • Chronic anemia by the constant destruction of red blood cells, detectable by the pale coloration of the skin and mucous membranes.

  • Increase of free hemoglobin in the blood by constant destruction of red blood cells.

  • Blood in defecation caused by the presence of parasites in the blood vessels.

  • Inflammation of the kidneys as a possible acute renal failure.

  • At neurological level, brain and spinal cord inflammation, such as myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord) or meningitis (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord), which could end up resulting in a stroke, paralysis, even coma for brain damage that can cause seizures or even death.

  • A substantial and significant increase in liver size (hepatomegaly), abdominal pain on the right side, where the body lies. Also with a possible jaundice (yellow skin and yellow mucous membranes) and liver failure.

  • Referring to the spleen, as a significant and important spleen increase (splenomegaly), abdominal pain on the left side, where the body lies.

  • Considering the immune system, as a collapse of the defenses of our organism, that are continually generating antibodies.

Prognosis of malaria

Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale tend to have a more favorable prognosis than Plasmodium falciparum that must receive the necessary treatment. In the first three cases, they can get worse and become a chronic disease.

In the case of Plasmodium falciparum, when not treated adequately, very serious complications arise in two weeks and can be fatal in a quarter of those affected people.

punto rojo More information on malaria.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

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