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Malaria is a parasitic disease that involves high fevers, shaking chills, flu-like symptoms, and anemia.

Malaria is caused by a parasite that is transmitted from one human to another by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. In humans, the parasites (called sporozoites) travel to the liver, where they mature and release another form, the merozoites. These enter the bloodstream and infect the red blood cells.

The parasites multiply inside the red blood cells, which then rupture within 48 to 72 hours, infecting more red blood cells. The first symptoms usually occur 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, though they can appear as early as 8 days or as long as a year after infection. Then the symptoms occur in cycles of 48 to 72 hours.

The majority of symptoms are caused by the massive release of merozoites into the bloodstream, the anemia resulting from the destruction of the red blood cells, and the problems caused by large amounts of free hemoglobin released into circulation after red blood cells rupture.

Malaria can also be transmitted from a mother to her unborn baby (congenitally) and by blood transfusions. Malaria can be carried by mosquitoes in temperate climates, but the parasite disappears over the winter.
Symptoms include anemia, chills, coma, convulsion, fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, bloody stools, sweating and vomiting.

The diet usually prescribed is a high calorie, high protein, low fat, & a high fluid diet.

The first two or 3 days can be more of a fluid diet consisting of soups, glucose water, juices, milk (only if there's no diarrhea).

Give small frequent meals at regular intervals, every 2 hrs which can be gradually increased to every 4 hrs.

Include foods which are soft, bland, easily digested and absorbed like gruels, cereal and milk, soft fruits like banana, papaya, orange, sweet lime, melons etc. soft and mashed khichidi or mashed curd rice or softly boiled veggies can also be included.

Protein intake of the diet should be increased, so it important to provide high nutritive value proteins like milk, eggs & daal.

Fatty foods, spicy and highly fibrous foods are difficult to digest and should be avoided.

It is also very important to remember that during fever, there is an increase need of certain nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Calcium, iron & sodium.

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