I’m constantly on malaria drugs, fall ill every 2 weeks and always diagnosed with malaria.I’m getting really fed up and need a permanent solution to all of this. I want to live a healthy life and I’m tired of being on malaria drugs. How do I overcome malaria permanently?
It is very unusual to be reinfected so constantly with malaria. First of all, how are you getting diagnosed? You should be getting a blood test, and not relying on symptoms only; the symptoms of malaria are very general and it could be that you are suffering from something else entirely.
The two main methods for accurate diagnosis are blood smear and rapid diagnostic test. The blood smear is used throughout the world, but can sometimes miss light infections (though if you feel sick, your infection is likely heavy enough to be detected by this method). The problem is that it requires a trained technician to take the sample, prepare it properly, and read it thoroughly and accurately. In my experience, many clinics, especially if they are rushed and busy, will not take the time to read a blood slide properly, and will just diagnose malaria without looking. This is really bad!
It is very important to be properly diagnosed, so you can get the correct treatment, and if you don’t have malaria, you can be diagnosed for something else. The second kind of diagnostic is a rapid diagnostic test, or RDT. This looks for antibodies to malaria in your blood, and is very sensitive and quick. In an ideal world, you should try to have both done, to cross-check the results.
The next thing is to check whether you are receiving the correct treatment for the type of malaria that you have (if you are positively diagnosed with malaria). In many parts of the world, malaria has become resistant to some of the main medications used against it. Notably, this is the case in many places with Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous kind of malaria, which has become resistant to chloroquine in many parts of the world, to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (sold as Fansidar in many places) and also to mefloquine (sold as Lariam) in some places. As such, the World Health Organisation NEVER recommends these treatments be given as first line drugs against P. falciparum malaria—instead, they recommend artemisinin-combination therapies (ACTs), such as Alu, Coartem or Duo-Cotecxin. If you have been diagnosed with P. falciparum, you must try to take these kinds of drugs first. No resistance to ACTs has been reported, so if you take the full dose correctly, as prescribed by your doctor (and check to make sure the drugs are not expired), then you should be cured of malaria.
However, treatment does not stop you from getting infected again, and this is where prevention comes it. Preventing malaria is a cornerstone of control efforts. Since malaria is transmitted by a mosquito, preventing mosquitoes from entering the house, and particularly stopping them from biting you at night, is crucial. Screening all doors and windows can help stop mosquitoes from getting in, and in high transmission areas, many people will also spray inside their houses every once in a while with insecticides to kill any lingering insects.
In addition, sleeping under a long-lasting insecticide treated bednet can drastically reduce the number of mosquitoes that are able to bite you at night. If you already have a net, it may be worth re-dipping it in insecticide (usually permethrin) to make sure it is still working effectively. The mosquitoes that transmit malaria feed at night, so if you are walking around outside in the evenings or at night, it is important to try to wear long-sleeved clothing, to prevent them from accessing your skin.
All of these efforts will help prevent you from getting malaria again in the future.