No one wants to get sick while abroad, but Malaria is an illness that travelers are especially keen to avoid. Malaria is a disease transmitted via mosquitos which carry parasites. Malaria is a potentially serious disease, but the good news is that it is preventable! Let us share a few tips on how.
There are a variety of anti-malarial medications available. Speak to your healthcare professional to choose the one that is best for you and where you are traveling. Pre-existing medical conditions are an important consideration in this choice, so don’t decide alone!
One of the most important things to remember about anti-malarial medication is that the person taking the medication MUST complete the treatment regimen in its entirety, even if not exhibiting signs of infection once they have returned home. If you don’t complete the medication then you are still at risk!
Other Preventative Measures
While anti-malarial medications are highly used and effective, they are not the only method of limiting your risk of contracting Malaria. One of the best ways to reduce your risk is to limit your exposure to the mosquitos that carry Malaria. Wearing long pants and long sleeved clothing items are a highly effective (and easy!) way to reduce your risk.
If you are going to be spending extensive periods of time outdoors, then bug repellant sprays and lotions can be a helpful way to keep mosquitoes at bay. Those containing 20-50% deet (Diethyltoluamide) are particularly popular and effective. If you don’t need to be outside, then staying in a location that has air conditioning or screens on windows is a fantastic precaution!
Keep in mind that none of these methods will completely eliminate risk.
Mosquitoes most commonly bite during night time hours. If you are in a particularly high-risk region, it is a good idea to inquire if there are mosquito nets available to sleep under. Or better yet, pack your own!
When deciding which course of preventative action you are going to take against Malaria while traveling to a new destination, it is always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. They will be able to advise you on specific considerations for the area you are traveling to, if there is resistance to particular anti-malaria drugs in that location, and will be qualified to explain the specific side effects and risks associated with various medical options.
If these precautions are unavailable, or malaria has already been contracted, there are treatment options! Consult a medical professional immediately.