Malaria is widespread in many tropical and subtropical countries and is a serious and sometimes fatal disease. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria, but many cases of Malaria can be prevented by the ABCD approach
- Awareness of risk: know your risk of malaria.
- Bite prevention: avoid bites as much as possible.
- Chemoprophylaxis: take the right antimalarial tablets.
- Diagnosis: get immediate medical help for symptom
Tips for Travellers to avoid bites
Avoid mosquito bites, especially after sunset. If you are out at night wear long-sleeved clothing and long trousers.
- Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spray an insecticide or repellent on them. Insect repellents should also be used on exposed skin.
- Spraying insecticides in the room, burning pyrethroid coils and heating insecticide impregnated tablets all help to control mosquitoes.
- If sleeping in an unscreened room, or out of doors, a mosquito net impregnated with insecticide is a sensible precaution. Portable, lightweight nets are available.
- Garlic, Vitamin B and ultrasound devices do not prevent bites
Before travelling it is very important that you have a risk assessment to determine which antimalarial tablets are best for you. This will be determined on various factors including destination, medical history, family history, current medications, previous problems with anti-malarial tablets, age, and pregnancy
Always take the tablets regularly, preferably with or after a meal.
It is extremely important to continue to take them for four weeks after you have returned, to cover the incubation period of the disease.
Typical symptoms of malaria include shivering, fever, joint pain, vomiting, jaundice and convulsions. The classic symptom of malaria is a sudden coldness followed by fever and sweating.
In severe cases, malaria can progress extremely rapidly and induce a coma and even death within hours or days.
Young children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the disease.
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