How to Do Malaria Test At Home

 What are Malaria Tests?

Malaria is a dangerous disease caused by a tiny parasite that lives in red blood cells. When these parasites destroy the cells, it makes you very sick. Most people get malaria from the bite of a mosquito carrying the parasite. Symptoms start like the flu but can become deadly if not treated quickly. However, malaria can usually be cured with medicine.

Malaria tests check your blood for signs of the infection. They help diagnose malaria early, allowing for treatment before the disease becomes severe. These tests are used if you have symptoms and have recently been in areas where malaria is common.

How to Do Malaria Test At Home

In the United States, malaria is rare and usually occurs in people who have traveled to warm, humid regions like parts of Africa south of the Sahara. Malaria can also spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, or sharing needles. Pregnant women can pass it to their unborn babies. However, malaria is not spread through casual contact, sex, or being near someone with the disease.

Other names for malaria tests include malaria blood smear, malaria rapid diagnostic test, and malaria by PCR.

 What Are Malaria Tests Used For?

Malaria tests diagnose the disease by identifying which type of malaria parasite is in your blood. Knowing the type helps doctors choose the right treatment. Testing also helps prevent the spread of malaria since infected people can pass the parasite to mosquitoes, which then bite others.

 Why Do I Need a Malaria Test?

How to Do Malaria Test At Home

You might need a malaria test if you have symptoms and have been in an area where malaria is common. Symptoms typically start 7 to 30 days after a mosquito bite but can take up to a year to appear. If you feel sick, tell your doctor about any travel in the past year.

Early symptoms of malaria are similar to the flu, including:

  •  Fever
  •  Chills
  •  Fatigue
  •  Headache
  •  Muscle pain
  •  Nausea and vomiting

Without treatment, malaria can become life-threatening. Advanced symptoms depend on the parasite type and may include:

  •  Anemia
  •  Jaundice
  •  Kidney failure
  •  Seizures
  •  Mental confusion
  •  Coma

 What Happens During a Malaria Test?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and recent travels. If malaria is suspected, a blood test will be done to check for parasites. During the test, a healthcare worker will take a blood sample from your arm. This usually takes less than five minutes and may cause a small sting.

There are two main types of blood tests for malaria:

1. Blood Smear Test: A drop of blood is examined under a microscope for parasites.

2. Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT): This test looks for malaria proteins and gives results in 15 minutes. However, a blood smear is still needed to identify the parasite type for proper treatment.

Your doctor might also order other blood tests to see how malaria is affecting your body.

 Preparing for the Test

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for a malaria test.

 Risks of the Test

The risks are minimal. You might feel a little pain or bruising where the needle was inserted, but these symptoms usually go away quickly.

 Understanding Your Test Results

1. Negative Results: No malaria parasites were found. However, since parasite levels can change, more tests may be needed to confirm the absence of malaria.

2. Positive Results: Malaria parasites were found. Your doctor will start treatment right away based on the parasite type, resistance to medicines, your symptoms, and whether you are pregnant.

Early treatment usually cures malaria. If the doctor suspects a serious case, treatment might begin before test results are confirmed.

Read: How to Migrate to MTN Beta Talk

 Additional Information

If you are traveling to a malaria-prone area, talk to your doctor beforehand. Preventive medicine may be available. Also, protecting yourself from mosquito bites can reduce your risk of getting malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

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