Learn About Malaria from me, a Nigerian | My Malaria Experience
Malaria is a very famous disease, its mainly in Africa but it is known and talked about everywhere: Europe, America, everywhere. Most of you who aren't Africans/haven't lived in Africa have heard about it and talked about it severally. I've confirmed a lot of times, just like that time my man @dandays asked me about malaria when I told him I just recovered from it, that a lot of non-Africans hear about malaria but have no idea how it really works and spend many quiet times wondering how the hell it must feel like.
I reckon if Jane Taylor (1783-1824) the author of 'twinkle, twinkle, little star' lived long enough she would have written a version that goes 'twinkle, twinkle, little malaria, how I wonder what you are'. To which the woke public would have told her she had no right to add :little' to 'malaria', 'how dare you belittle the African struggles?'
Then she will be cancelled.
That being the case, calm down my non-Africans, papa Nevies a jolly gentleman who lives in Nigeria and have caught malaria at least 1,000 times in his life is here to tell you all you need to know about this disease:
[Nevies in the Flesh]
Also, my personal experience is quite special and different from that of others, so...
So, first of all, malaria is caused only by an infected female anopheles mosquito. Aha! The female gender strikes again.
There are mosquitoes in every country of the world except Iceland (lucky bastards), but the anopheles mosquito which causes malaria is found only in Africa, Asia and South America, not only Africa like the opening paragraphs of this write-up may have tricked you into thinking 😀.
Note that male anopheles mosquitoes do not bite, infact no specie of male mosquitoes bite except females.
I should probably link #ladiesofhive to this post, throw some shades and start a war or something 🤔😅
But well, another angle is that the female mosquitoes need the protein from blood for their eggs, and they don't just bite humans, they bite about every creature around. And after it bites a person, the person usually get sick between 7 to 10 days or 4 weeks or so, it depends/varies.
Also note that some people are immune to malaria
How Does Malaria Feel
It makes you feel feverish and a flu-like feeling, coupled with fatigue, shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, nausea. Diarrhea may also occur.
In more severe cases:
anemia and jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes) due to loss of red blood cells may occur.
And in the really extreme cases (Usually when not promptly and properly treated):
Kidney failure, seizures, mental imbalance, coma, and death.
Because of improved medication, it hardly ever goes past the 'usually' category above and people usually get completely well after a week of taking the medicines. Even the very first few hours of medication people usually feel obvious improvements.
Is usually done by taking a few tablets of prescribed medicine. Usually Arthermeter-lumefantrine, artesunate, artemisinin, they are called ACT meaning Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy.
Before these Treatments were Discovered
Malaria was way more deadly, although every society had different herbal medicines they used in tackling malaria, but modern medicine has so bossed them all. The medicines mentioned above are derivatives of 'artemisinin' which had been contained in some herbs the Chinese used to treat malaria for over 2,000 years.
My Personal Experience
Like I said, before artemisinin was discovered, malaria was way more deadly. In the year I was born (1998) my older brother died from malaria, he was just 4 years old. Artemisinin was discovered in 1972 by Tu Youyou, who shared the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, but by 1998 the medicines were not so common in Nigeria.
When I became 4 years old, I also had severe malaria and went into a coma. I was hospitalized and everyone thought I was dead. And like I've explained before I have a very good memory, I remember being in a coma, it was just like sleep without dreams, you just black out, it is only when you are revived that you remember you blacked out. That must be how death is.
Since then, I've never had severe malaria, I only stay in the 'usually' category. But it took some years before ACT medicines became easily accessible in Nigeria, it became common enough only in like 2010 or so. Before ACT we took a lot of other medicines like chloroquine, I remember suffering the side effects of itching from taking it, I suffered for one whole day, really terrible, it was like I had ants all over my body and they bit me every now and then, I couldn't even sleep the whole of one night.
Since I met ACT, my response to malaria has become really different from how it was, and different from that of most people. Most people now fall sick with malaria every 3 months or above and require medicine, but me I get it every 2 months at least.
Now, from the 'usually' category above I only feel fatigue and a little headache sometimes when I get malaria once in 2 months and that's all. All the other symptoms and feelings, I don't feel them at all. You have no idea how beautiful this is! Just some fatigue and small headache once every two months, I buy the medicine for about $2 and I'm perfectly fine in about a week.
Infact, if not for the fact that I write and engage in creative and intellectual projects I would have hardly ever noticed my malaria. But again, this is really something: every 2 months or thereabouts, I need to take that medication in order to function optimally, or else fatigue and a little headache would leave my head unable to be productive enough. And while on this drug the fatigue increases, the headache goes away but it is replaced by this drowsy feeling in my head and I can't be productive till I'm done with the medicine. That's about 1 week every 2 months, gone to recuperation and below optimal performance.
Furthermore, for many years of my life I didn't know this was what I had to do to keep functioning perfectly, when I feel the fatigue and small headaches I usually attribute it to stress, writers' block, normal tiredness, etc. I only found out last year from going to tests that it was malaria. So now I have adjusted and I'm keeping my performance top tier. When I read about the Egyptian philosophical saying
Man know thyself
I spent a lot of time wondering who the heck I was, I looked deep inside me and tried to understand me and all that, I didn't know the simple answer was that I was a just a malaria prone dude, once I take care of malaria every now and then I would be good to go and could do whatever I wanted! Malaria is simply the beginning and end of how I function and feel good, I'm always great when I've treated it and I've never contacted any other ailment. Knowing when to treat malaria was all the knowing of myself I needed.
Taking ACT medications as regularly as every 2 months is probably not medically advisable for everyone, be sure to contact your doctor.
I'm Really Thankful for ACT and to Nobel Laureate Tu Youyou for Discovering this Medicine. I'm sure I totally Screw Her name up When I try Pronouncing it but it is no Hard Feelings at All, it is Still Complete Respect from my Side.
(By the way, nice of her to redeem the female gender with this discovery from harm caused by one of their own 🌚🤔)
Photo of Tu Youyou
I would have most Probably been Dead by Now if not for Her