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What are the Symptoms of Malaria in Kids?

Malaria is a wide spread disease in the Indian sub-continent thanks to its tropical climate and unhygienic conditions across the country. While malarial infections rise during the monsoons, infections tend to occur all year round in the agricultural and industrial belts across India. The northern and North Eastern states however are spared due to the cold climate. That being said, malaria is a rather notorious infection and can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in time.

Kids under 5 years of age in particular are at a relatively higher risk of being infected and to answer the question in your mind as to what are the symptoms of malaria, we have compiled the below list to help you be more vigilant

  1. Symptoms show up between 10 days to 4 weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
  2. For kids under 5 the symptoms are usually fever, cold, shivering, irritability, drowsiness, sleeplessness, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, rapid shallow breathing, loss of appetite and in some cases hypothermia instead of a fever. Kids under 2 months of age are less likely to get infected since they have the mother’s immunity protecting them.
  3. For children older than 5 years, the symptoms are the same as those of adults and include bouts of high fever, shivering and sweating. The cycles sometimes last up to 48 hours with fevers going as high as 105F.
  4. The bouts of fever are accompanied by headaches, chills, nausea, vomiting, body ache, loss of appetite.

The symptoms of malaria are similar to those of dengue, chickungunya and the flu, mistaking the diagnosis is rather easy. However in case of kids its best to get the relevant blood tests done to confirm the infection and choose the course of treatment accordingly. It is best to take the doctor’s advice since kids tend to have delicate constitutions and the whole experience can be traumatic.

A malarial infection may last for up to 10 days in kids. While the symptoms may subside, they take a toll on the body and require additional time for complete recovery of health. Lots of rest and light nutritious meals in addition to the doctor prescribed medication work well for speedy recovery. It is advisable to keep cold washcloths handy for sponging to bring the fever down. Lots of hugs, cuddles and kisses from the loved ones help keep the children cajoled through the experience keeping trauma at bay.

While infected, make sure that the child is kept safe from mosquitoes so as to stop the infection from spreading further. Using a few drops of citronella oil when cleaning floors helps keep mosquitoes away as does the mesh on the doors and windows.

Children tend to be the highest age group affected by malaria. Given that malaria spread by mosquitoes, the best line of defense is keep the surroundings clean and taking adequate precautions for mosquito safety all year long to keep the little ones safe.

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