Malaria Prevention: Looking for tips to avoid malaria when travelling? If you are travelling to a malaria endemic area then it is essential to take certain precautionary measures before and during the travel.
Every year, malaria kills millions of people in tropical and sub-tropical areas. If you are planning to visit such areas then you too are at high risk of getting this disease. The good news is that malaria is a preventable disease so travellers to malaria infected areas just need to take certain precaution for being safe from the infection. Here are some tips that can help you avoid malaria when travelling:
Find out if the area you are travelling to is Malaria Endemic
The very first thing you must do is find out whether the area you are travelling to is malaria endemic. For this information you can either get a list or a map for malaria risk areas, from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
If malaria is prevalent in areas you are travelling to then you must visit a medical professional for necessary prescriptions.
Know the Source of Infection
Malaria is mainly caused by a parasite named Plasmodium that is carried by night-biting mosquitoes. So the key to avoid malaria when travelling is to stay away from mosquitoes. Infection can also spread because of transfusion of blood in any form and by sharing an intravenous needle with an infected person.
Prevention from Malaria Infection when Travelling
Since malaria is spread by mosquito bites one must take extreme care to minimise exposure. While travelling one need to take personal protection measures.
- Cover up with long sleeved clothes and full pants.
- Apply mosquito repellents on the exposed skin repeatedly after you swim or take a shower. Choose repellents that contain 20-30 percent of N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET).
- Studies show that mosquitoes prefer darker coloured clothing over the lighter ones. So it is better to go for lighter colours.
- Mosquito netting is a great idea while travelling. You can carry a portable bed screen that can be strung around the bed.
- Use mosquito sprays, mosquito coils or electric insecticide vaporizers.
- Take extra precautions between early dusk and late dawn.
Seek immediate Medical Help if you suspect Malaria Infection
Early diagnosis plays a crucial role in treating malaria. If you suspect malaria infection and notice any symptom of malaria such as fever, headache, sweating, nausea and vomiting, seek immediate medical help. If immediate medical assistance is not possible then one must take rest, increase water intake and try to bring down the fever.
Take Antimalarial Drugs
If you are staying in a malaria infected area for more than six months then it is advisable to take antimalarial pills. However, these pills can be quite expensive so if you are not taking antimalarial drugs, take adequate precaution against mosquito bites.
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