Filed Under (General) by Rob on 23-10-2007

This is by no means the first post on this subject!

Previous posts on the subject include: What’s it like having malaria?,Madelaine has malaria , What a sweet and sour time we’re having and Rob has malaria.

This is not surprising when you look at the map below, showing areas at risk from malaria. You’ll notice that Cotonou (far south of Benin, the broccoli-shaped country in West Africa) has a very high risk – hence the red dots!

(this photo from the World Health Organization site – click here and here to find out more)

Did you know that worldwide there are 300-500 million clinical cases malaria a year, 90% of which are in Africa. Malaria is endemic to more than 90 countries and causes between 1,500,000 and 3,000,000 deaths a year. (Found out at this great site).

So, what’s it like having malaria?

Well, it zaps about a week of your life away (and probably a few months at the end too, for all I know!) The secret is quick diagnosis and appropriate drugs. I’ve had the malaria blood test about 15 times in the past 3 years, but it’s only been positive about 4 times. Here’s my exciting week:

Tuesday: Wake up feeling like I’ve had a lousy nights’ sleep. No bother – it happens (especially in this climate).
Wednesday: Wake up again feeling weak and tired, even though I had an undisturbed night. Mmm – this is often a tell-tale sign for me that the big ‘M’ is on the way. I also notice I’m sweating a lot today, even though others around me aren’t…
Thursday: Wake up and can hardly stand up! Feel like I have the flu, only worse. Also feeling a bit shaky/shivery. Go for malaria blood test at 11:00am, positive result be 1:00pm. Start treatment on Co-Arinate, which is a mixture of Artesunate, Pyrimethamine and Sulfamethoxypyrazine – mmmmm, sounds tasty! Cancel trip to jazz club and some stuff planned tomorrow and sleep from about 3:00pm.
Friday: Sleep most of the day and take second dose of Co-Arinate. Getting up is an effort and I walk like an old man! Too tired to watch TV or use computer much and even reading is a strain on my brain, and when the kids get home their every sound is painful!
Saturday: I wake up and feel good for the first time! I have some energy and get up. However, this does not last and I’m exhausted by mid-morning. This is the point at which the Artesunate is making me feel better, but I’m not fully recovered. Also, the effects of the other drugs soon make me feel lousy too! I take my final does of Co-Arinate and sleep for most of the afternoon, then make it out for a friend’s birthday meal in the evening, but am decidedly ‘spaced out’.
Sunday: Get up and feel a bit better, but still only on about 50% energy. Sleep all afternoon and also have a splitting headache most of the day, so survive on Paracetamol, Ibuprofen etc. The inside of my mouth feels sore tastes almost metallic – don’t know why. Around 7:00pm I go out for a short walk, as it’s cooler out now and not quite dark. I feel better for the exercise, but and shattered afterwards. I go to sleep with a headache and more Paracetamol (that’s acetaminophen for our trans-Atlantic cousins).
Monday: Wake up with headache and aching neck. I remember now, I always get aches and pains for about a week after malaria. Not sure why. Still taking it easy and feeling better every day.

Now try this MALARIA QUIZ , which is not the same as the quiz previously posted on the blog (that one, it would seem, is defunct).

That’s all folks!

Comments are closed.