• Signs and Symptoms of Malaria

    Signs and Symptoms of Malaria

    tips for preventing malarial infection

    Signs and Symptoms of Malaria

    Spending a well-deserved vacation in a tropical or subtropical climate sounds like a little slice of heaven. While these areas are beautiful and mysterious, they also come with a few warning labels, one of which is the potential for contracting malaria. Whether you are on safari in Africa or exploring the wonders of India, keep an eye out for these symptoms so you can act quickly and prevent further complications.

    First of all, what is malaria?

    Malaria is a life-threatening disease that is most often transmitted by an infected Anopheles mosquito. Once the mosquito bites you, the Plasmodium parasite is released into your bloodstream and travels to your liver to mature. The parasites begin infecting red blood cells and continue to multiply. Within 48 to 72 hours, the infected red blood cells burst open and the parasites move on to find more cells.

    Common signs and symptoms

    Symptoms of malaria typically start appearing 10 days to four weeks after infection, and they occur in cycles that last 2-3 days at a time. Since malarial parasites can lay dormant for a while, some people may not experience symptoms for several months. Common symptoms to watch out for include:

    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Fatigue
    • Vomiting
    • High fever
    • Moderate to severe shaking chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Profuse sweating
    • Bloody stools

    Other symptoms

    Since Plasmodium parasites infect and destroy red blood cells, malaria can result in anemia (too few red blood cells in the blood). Red blood cells carry hemoglobin and vital oxygen to the cells of the body, so a decrease in their number can cause:

    • Sluggishness
    • Exhaustion
    • Shortness of breath
    • Low blood pressure
    • Fainting
    • Heart palpitations.

    Severe malarial complications can lead to convulsions, coma, swelling of the blood vessels, pulmonary edema, low blood sugar, organ failure, and even death.

    Treatment options

    Fortunately, malaria can be treated with medical care. Your doctor will run some tests to determine the type of parasite you have, and then prescribe medication to clear the infection. Some drug-resistant parasites have been reported, so you may need to use more than one medication to treat your condition. The long-term outlook for people who receive treatment for malaria is typically good, though if you suffered complications as a result of malaria, you may have a more difficult road to recovery.

    When to see a doctor

    If you experience any of the above symptoms while living in or after traveling to a high-risk malaria region, you need to talk to a doctor at once to begin treatment. For severe symptoms, please seek emergency attention as soon as possible.

    Handy tips for preventing malarial infection

    There is no vaccine to prevent malaria, so talk to your doctor prior to traveling to an area where malaria is common. You may be prescribed antimalarial medication to help prevent infection. Other preventative measures include:

    • Sleeping under a mosquito net
    • Covering your skin
    • Using bug spray that contains DEET
    • Staying indoors at dusk and nighttime

  • Tips for Feeling Your Best on Long Flights

    Tips for Feeling Your Best on Long Flights

    travel vaccinations in Phoenix
    Tips for Feeling Your Best on Long Flights

    The hotels are booked, the day trips are planned, and your bags are packed for your long-awaited trip to an exotic location on the other side of the world. Now, you are just one or two long-haul flights away from your dream vacation, but the prospect of sitting in a cramped space with over a hundred strangers for the next 9 hours is definitely not your idea of a good time. Here are some go-to tips to help you survive your long flights and hit the ground running when you get to your destination.

    Comfort is everything

    While there is not much you can do about the cramped seating (unless you are flying first class, in which case you are the envy of every other person on the plane!), comfortable clothing can make all the difference. Wear your yoga pants if you wish, but anything that moves easily and doesn’t wrinkle works best. Slip-on shoes are a must, and compression socks can help you avoid swollen feet or ankles and prevent leg pain. If you get cold easily, slip a scarf or hoodie into your carry-on for extra warmth.

    Drink lots of water

    Even though you are sitting around for hours on end, planes are strangely dehydrating. Make sure to drink plenty of water before your flight and continue the practice throughout your journey. If you are awake on the plane, you should be drinking water. Bring your own water bottle, and ask the flight attendants to fill it up whenever possible.

    Get moving

    International flights do have some great entertainment, but watching 4 movies in a row without leaving your seat can really do a number on your joints. Get up and stretch your legs every hour or so. If you follow the advice from the previous tip, your bladder will help remind you. If the movie is just too engrossing, you can do some stretches in your seat. Torso twists, arm stretches, and head rolls will help alleviate the stiffness.

    Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake

    Not only are stiff drinks and coffee dehydrating (everything seems to come back to drinking water), but they can disrupt your ability to sleep. This is particularly important if you are trying to get a jump on jet lag by acclimating to the time zone of your destination during your flight. Your body may say that it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, but if it’s midnight where you’re going, catching some shut-eye can help you adjust to the new time much quicker.

    Pack the essentials

    It’s amazing how simply brushing your teeth and combing your hair can make you feel human again during a long flight. Other essentials that can help minimize the cabin craziness: ear plugs and a sleeping mask to help you sleep, a healthy snack, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, something to read, and a tablet or smartphone loaded with music or other entertainment to while away the hours.

    The staff at Travel Vaccines & Wellness Solutions wants you to feel your best even after a dozen hours on a plane! For more helpful tips on making the most of your long-haul flight, contact us today!