Malaria symptoms, prevention and treatment [video]

Video author: Streaming Well
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Video Transcript
Alex Carter, Anti Malaria Campaigner: I fell ill with malaria whilst on a rural village camp up in northern Ghana. Whilst coming back from the rural village placement where I was teaching some local students, I noticed that I was quite dehydrated.

The onset of malaria can be mistaken for dehydration.

I had stomach problems, and whilst I thought this was just tiredness and dehydration, I was advised to go to the hospital to get checked out. Whilst I was in a taxi to the hospital, my situation deteriorated quite rapidly. I started having triple vision, going in and out of consciousness, and when I arrived at the hospital, I was treated immediately for malaria. They found out I had malaria falciparum, which is one of the most severe types of malaria. Malaria falciparum can be fatal if left untreated. And I was treated with anti-malarials and morphine to stem the pain.

How did you prepare for your trip, and what advice do you have for fellow travellers?

When I went to my GP, he told me about 3 different sorts of anti-malarial tablets. The first was Malarone, which is the most expensive type. The second was Doxycycline, which was the one I took, however, Doxycycline does give you slight reactions to the sun, and it can make your skin sensitive. And the third one was Lariam, and the downside with Lariam is that it can give you some sort of nightmares and interfere with your sleep patterns. I wish someone had actually told me that not all anti-malarials are 100% effective. In fact, none of them are 100% effective.

I also took with me an anti-malarial net which can be hung from the rafters using tape or Blu-Tack. I wish that I'd been told to hang the mosquito net away from my body because numerous nights, my mosquito net fell down or was actually on top of my body. I received quite a lot of bites on those nights. Applying DEET every night to sensitive areas such as the face is equally important because this can ward off mosquitoes. I actually didn't apply it to my face very often because it's quite acidic and can often sting. However, I do think it's worth the risk. I wish someone had told me about the symptoms.

As your health can deteriorate quite rapidly, it's important that you realize what the symptoms are of malaria so that you can get to the hospital quickly if need be.

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