WHAT MALARIA IS NOT…

Hi y’all!

Enjoy your weekend? I hope so.

Sequel to our last post about how not everything is malaria, we would like to dwell a bit further on the topic.

Many illnesses mimic the signs and symptoms of malaria. I am sure we all at various times have heard of deaths and when asked what the cause is, the answer most times is that the person had been undergoing treatment for malaria. Liver diseases such as hepatitis can be mistaken for malaria in the first few weeks until more signs show up later.

“Not Everything Is Malaria” needs to become our mantra if we are going to get out of this confusing mindset. We live in a malaria endemic zone (meaning that malaria has become like a staple in this part of the world). 😂

 

Another interesting misconception today is that we equate fever with malaria. It’s hilarious, believe me. Patients complain that they are having fever and expect the doctor to automatically understand that they mean they have malaria. It doesn’t help matters at all that the Yoruba word for “malaria” is “Iba”, which is literally translated as “fever”.

Okay people, truth time. Fever simply means elevated body temperature. To put it simply, it means “hotness of the body”. What’s more? Fever accompanies well more than half of the diseases that plague man! 😨 In fact, low or high grade fevers (depending on the particular illness) accompany those common ailments I mentioned in our last post: Respiratory Tract Infections (RTI) commonly called cough, cold or catarrh, Typhoid, Gastroenteritis etc. 🤔

So lets run through the commonest symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills (feeling cold)
  • Rigors (shivering when the fever is raging)
  • Sweating
  • Headacbes
  • Body aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness/malaise

Let’s take RTIs as an example. Most are caused by viruses which can be difficult to treat. They are mostly self limiting so plying the patient with antiviral drugs which have their own side effects by the way, may not be worth the stress.

 

So, an RTI will come, give you those symptoms listed above and then eventually leave you within 4 -10 days. Now, because you decided it was malaria, you’d start antimalarials on day 1 or 2, start feeling better by day 4 or 5 and then congratulate yourself on the successful treatment of your malaria.

(LOL! Please don’t report me to Obama o!)

Don’t be so quick next time to gobble up antimalarials. Let that runny nose run it’s course. Take a lot of fluids, fruits and vegetables. Rest your body. You aint a machine! Even machines need rest, you know.

Instead of boring you with the specific treatment guidelines for malaria and others (which are already available everywhere imaginable), we want today’s post to simply enlighten us all about the dangers of improper assumptions.

We live now in an age where knowledge of preventive/primary healthcare is all the rage. The advent of health insurance has opened up doors to better health management. Don’t always jump to conclusions. Do the basic things first as mentioned above and see your doctor if you still feel ill after 3 days. Sometimes they’ll just run a test or give you advice. If the doctor determines that you need to be on drugs, he will do so.

Until next time, please take care of your body. You only get one in one lifetime. If you care for it, it will reap you dividends.

If you have any comments or contributions on today’s topic, be quick to send me a mail at feedback@healthcare-ng.com I will be glad to read from you and answer all your questions.

Author: Dr. Lola Odubitan, MBBS

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