A while later she returned to the room, “the test results are out”she said “the tests we ran show that you have malaria.” “Malaria? I never knew malaria could make a person so weak,” he said. “Yes it can” she replied, “in this part of the world, people tend to take malaria for granted, the slightest unwell feeling is attributed to malaria and they go ahead to abuse anti-malarial drugs all in the name of treating malaria.” “You’re right,I know so many people like that” he nodded in agreement, “let me tell you a bit about malaria” she said, sitting in the chair beside him, “please do” he replied smiling to himself, he was happy to get more of her attention even if it was just for a little while.
“Malaria is an infectious disease caused by Plasmodium parasites spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, a single mosquito bite is all it takes to become infected.” She began, “there are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and two of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat.” “That’s interesting” he said, nodding like he was interested in malaria so she could keep talking, “the effects of malaria are usually more severe in pregnant women, babies, young children and the elderly” she continued, “so how do I know if I have malaria?” He asked like he wasn’t experiencing the symptoms first hand.
“It is important to be aware of the symptoms of malaria so you know when to go to your doctor,” she said. “They may include high temperature (fever), sweats and chills, headaches, vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, muscle and joint pains, just to mention a few, they usually appear between 7-18 days after becoming infected, but in some cases the symptoms may not appear for up to a year, or occasionally even longer.” “Wow,that long? I never knew that” he said. “I’ll tell you something else you don’t know” she continued, “malaria can have very serious complications like Cerebral malaria, this happens If parasite-filled blood cells block small blood vessels to your brain, swelling of your brain or brain damage may occur and it may cause a coma.”
“Coma?” Dami asked starting to to look uneasy, “yes, coma” she replied, ” it can even cause Breathing problems if fluid accumulates in your lungs and can make it difficult to breathe. Some may even experience organ failure where malaria causes your kidneys or liver to fail, or your spleen to rupture. Any of these conditions can be life-threatening and these are only just a few of the complications caused by malaria. “Are you saying I could possibly start having breathing problems or go into a coma?” Dami asked now looking very worried, “no” she laughed, “thats not going to happen to you, you’re in good hands and you came to the hospital early enough, besides, malaria is a curable infection, so you have nothing to worry about ” “phew! That’s reassuring” he said, heaving a sigh of relief.
“I’m glad it is” she said “but for every infectious disease, the watch word is prevention, it’s always better than cure.” “So how can I prevent myself from getting malaria again then?” he asked. “It’s simple” she said ,”make sure you always sleep under an insecticide treated net, spray your room regularly with insecticide, keep your surroundings clean and free of stagnant water as these can serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes; sources of stagnant water may include open buckets of water lying around and uncovered gutters. Fumigating your surroundings regularly is also useful.”
“Thanks a lot for this very useful information Dr Deola” he said, hoping she would correct him with an appropriate first name, “you’re welcome” she said choosing to ignore the new name he had just given her. “So you’re still not going to give me your number?”he asked, “I can’t, you’re my patient “she answered, “okay that’s fine” he said smiling. “I’ll let you get some rest now” she said getting up to leave the room. “Game on” he whispered to himself as he put his head down to rest “I’m Dami Badmus and I don’t fail”…