Ayurvedic treatment for Malarial fever

Malarial fever

Know More on Allergy & immunity / Infection

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Malarial fever Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS MALARIAL FEVER?

Like many other vector borne diseases (infectious diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans), Malaria is caused by a parasite that is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Malarial fever produces recurrent attacks of chills and fever.1

While the disease is uncommon in temperate climates, malaria is still prevalent in tropical and subtropical countries.1

In Ayurveda, malaria is considered under the aegis of Vishama jwara. Vishama jwara means ‘irregular’ in every aspect - the origin, symptoms, periodicity - As per Vagbhatta - a renowned Acharya. Vitiated doshas in this type of fever do not have enough strength like other types of fevers. They get located in the rasa dhātu (tissues of nourishment), attacking the body as and when they like. Hence, even if the fever subsides, the patient feels exhausted, heavy and lethargic. This feature typically resonates with malarial fever wherein the fever subsides and reappears at fixed intervals. This feature of the fever is known as muktaanubandhitvam (reappearing at regular intervals).2

Causes

Malarial fever

MALARIAL FEVER CAUSES

It is well known that malaria is caused by a type of microscopic parasite that's transmitted most commonly by mosquito bites.1

The mosquito transmission cycle of malaria1

The cycle of transmission of the infection occurs as per the following stages

  • An uninfected mosquito feeds on an infected person and the parasites enter the mosquito. They stay dormant in the mosquito’s body.
  • When this mosquito bites another healthy person, the parasites get transferred into that person.
  • The parasites then travel to the liver of the healthy person and start growing.
  • When they mature, they leave the liver and infect the red blood cells. By doing this, they result in the symptoms of malarial fever.
  • This person now also becomes a carrier of the parasites, and any mosquito biting this person becomes infected and the cycle continues.

Other modes of transmission1

Since symptoms of malaria occur only after the red blood cell are infected by the parasites, it is possible for others to get infected if exposed to the parasites from blood directly (instead of the mosquito cycle). This can happen in the following circumstances- 1

  • From a pregnant woman to her yet to be born baby
  • Through transfusion of infected blood
  • Through infected needles during drug usage

Symptoms

Malarial fever

MALARIAL FEVER SYMPTOMS

A malaria infection is generally characterized by recurrent attacks with the following signs and symptoms1:

  • Severe chills
  • High intensity fever
  • Heavy sweating

Some other associated signs and symptoms may include1:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The signs and symptoms of malaria typically begin within a few weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. However, some types of malaria parasites can lie dormant for up to a year.1

Diagnosis

Malarial fever

MALARIAL FEVER DIAGNOSIS

Doctors are likely to suspect malarial fever based on the symptoms and a blood test.1

Different types of blood tests are available for malarial detection, with some taking several days to complete, while others producing results in less than 15 minutes.1

Management

Malarial fever

AYURVEDIC TIPS FOR MALARIAL FEVER

Several methods are used to prevent the spread of disease and to protect individuals - including mosquito eradication and prevention of mosquito bites. These include measures to eradicate stagnant water breeding grounds in neighborhood and personal protection against mosquito bites.2 – Biopurificatory techniques like therapeutic enema may be beneficial.

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • A diet of raw or well-boiled fruits and vegetables to allow cleansing of the liver so that it can heal.2
  • Milk diet, medicated ghrta (ghee) and decoctions, soups prepared from moonga may be beneficial.
  • Avoid spicy food and any foodstuff or liquid that cause considerable acidity when digested.2
  • Juice of fresh leaves of Nirgundi (Vitex nigundo) with honey may be beneficial.3
  • Consume old variety of rice, moong dal, masura dal, cow’s milk and milk products, raisin (kismis), anar (pomegranate), warm water, etc.3

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Adequate rest is advised.
  • Avoid activities physical exertion, such as exercises and walking
  • Avoid taking frequent baths

FAQS

Malarial fever
  1. How is sinusitis caused? Does it have anything to do with cold foods?

Sinusitis is basically an inflammation of the membranes of para-nasal sinuses or the group of four paired air-filled spaces that surround the nasal cavity. Colds, bacterial infections, allergies, asthma and other health conditions can cause sinusitis, or inflammation of the para-nasal sinuses.

In some people, cold foods may flare the condition and aggravate the allergies resulting in sinus problems. Such people should avoid eating cold foods.

  1. What are symptoms of Asthma? How do I know if someone may have asthma?

Symptoms of Asthma differ from person to person. Some may have infrequent asthma attacks, some have symptoms only at certain times — such as when exercising — or some have symptoms all the time. 

Asthma signs and symptoms include-

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
  1. My reports show a low platelet count, do I have dengue?

Diagnosing dengue fever can be difficult, because its signs and symptoms can be easily confused with those of other diseases — such as malaria, chikungunya, leptospirosis and typhoid fever.

Your doctor will likely ask about your medical and travel history. Be sure to describe any contact you may have had with mosquitoes. Certain laboratory tests can detect evidence of the dengue viruses, but test results usually come back too late to help direct treatment decisions. A low platelet count is generally seen in dengue but is not the only isolated finding. Fever, body-ache, skin rash, which appears two to five days after the onset of fever and minor bleeding accompanied by low platelet count is conclusive of Dengue.

  1. How does one contract typhoid? 

Typhoid fever is caused by a bacteria called S. typhi. This bacteria spreads through ingestion of contaminated food or water, and occasionally through direct contact with someone who is infected. In developing nations, where typhoid fever is endemic, most cases result from contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation. The majority of people in industrialized countries pick up typhoid bacteria while traveling and spread it to others through the fecal-oral route or contamination of food and drinking water with fecal contact that may occur due to flies, etc.

This means that S. typhi is passed in the feces and sometimes in the urine of infected people. You can contract the infection if you eat food handled by someone with typhoid fever who hasn't washed hands carefully after using the toilet. You can also become infected by drinking water contaminated with the bacteria.

  1. Can malaria only spread from mosquitoes?

Although the commonest cause of malarial fever is due to a bite by the infected female anopheles mosquito, this is not necessarily the only way one can be affected. 

Because the parasites that cause malaria affect red blood cells, people can also catch malaria from exposures to infected blood, including:

  • From mother to unborn child
  • Through blood transfusions
  • By sharing needles used to inject drugs
  • Organ transplants
  1. Does yellowness of eyes always mean there is a liver problem?

In some people who eat large amounts of food rich in beta-carotene (such as carrots, squash, and some melons), their skin may look slightly yellow, but their eyes do not turn yellow. This condition is not jaundice and is unrelated to liver disease.

Yellowness of the eyes is usually due to the leaked bilirubin pigment in the blood stream. This is called jaundice and most probably occurs in cases of liver inflammation. Such patients will also have a visible yellowness of skin.

  1. How does one get elephantiasis? 

Elephantiasis is basically swelling of the lymph glands due to an infection. The disease spreads from person to person by mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites a person who has lymphatic filariasis, microscopic worms circulating in the person's blood enter and infect the mosquito. People get lymphatic filariasis from the bite of an infected mosquito. The microscopic worms pass from the mosquito through the skin, and travel to the lymph vessels. In the lymph vessels they grow into adults. An adult worm lives for about 5–7 years. The adult worms mate and release millions of microscopic worms, called microfilariae, into the blood. People with the worms in their blood can give the infection to others through mosquitoes.

  1. What is the difference between Pneumonia and Pneumonitis?

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (purulent material), causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing.

Pneumonitis on the other hand, is a general term that refers to inflammation of lung tissue. Although pneumonia is technically a type of pneumonitis because the infection causes inflammation, most doctors refer to other causes of lung inflammation when they use the term "pneumonitis”.

Factors that can cause pneumonitis include exposure to airborne irritants at your job or from your hobbies. In addition, some types of cancer treatments and dozens of drugs can cause pneumonitis.

  1. Is rheumatic fever same as rheumatoid arthritis?

They are different. Rheumatic fever occurs after an infection of the throat with a bacterium called Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A streptococcus. Group A streptococcus infections of the throat cause strep throat or, less commonly, scarlet fever. Group A streptococcus infections of the skin or other parts of the body rarely trigger rheumatic fever. The exact link between strep infection and rheumatic fever isn't clear, but it appears that the bacterium ‘plays tricks’ on the immune system.

Rheumatic fever usually occurs in younger population especially children while rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammation of the body that mostly affects the joints in adults. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that certain cells of the immune system do not work properly and start attacking healthy tissues — especially the joints. The one that affects young children is called stilts disease.

  1. Every time I touch cold water I get these spots on my skin. There is no other complaint. Is this because of some allergy to water?

You may have a condition called Urticaria. It is a skin reaction that causes red or white itchy spots on the skin. There is a type of Urticaria called cold urticaria, in which skin that has been in contact with cold develops reddish, itchy spots. The severity of cold urticaria symptoms varies widely. Some people have minor reactions to cold, while others have severe reactions. Swimming in cold water is the most common cause of a whole-body (systemic) reaction.

References

Malarial fever
  1. Mayo Clinic. Malarial fever. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/malaria/home/ovc-20167984 accessed Aug 30th 2016
  2. Gupta R, Verma A, Jajania SPS. Malarial fever and its Āyurvedic management. Namah Journal. 2012. Vol 20(10). Available at http://www.namahjournal.com/doc/Actual/Malarial-fever-and-its-ayurvedic-management-vol-19-iss4.html accessed Aug 30th 2016
  3. Ayurvedic approach to some selected diseases. Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha. 2009

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