Malaria is something which travellers to certain destinations need to take seriously before they take their trip. Here we’ll look at the disease and how to prepare to travel to high-risk locations.
Is It Very Dangerous?
The simple answer is yes. It could be life-threatening if the correct treatment is not applied promptly. Malaria can be easily transmitted to unsuspecting tourists by mosquitoes; these are small insects that feed on the blood of mammals and many people don’t even realize they have been bitten until it is too late. Usually, symptoms may include high fevers and shaking chills
Where Is It Usually Found?
It can be found in many areas around the equator, typically between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. These are the hottest and most humid areas on Earth and include the Caribbean, South East Asia, Central America, South America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
What Should I Do Before I Go On Holiday?
Before leaving home, or even booking the holiday, call local health services to learn more about disease risk in the area you plan to visit. If the area is at risk, then schedule a visit to your family doctor to see if any shots or drug courses are available based on your medical needs.
If you are going to travel with the elderly or young children, it may be wise to schedule an appointment four to six weeks in advance. The doctor may need to prepare special drugs for them. Medication is usually effective for about a year, so don’t worry about its tolerance period.
I’m Already There, What Should I Do?
Use insect repellent very generously to keep mosquitoes away from you, as they are the main carriers of the disease. Tropical areas can be sunny, so if you do need to use sunblock, remember to apply insect repellent after using the sunblock.
It may be wise to install a bed net sprayed or soaked with insect repelling liquid to keep mosquitoes away from your bed. Please do remember to stay indoors in a cool and dry air-conditioned area if you can. Mosquitoes are most active at night and breed in stale puddles of water, so remember to clear the gutters, flowerpots, and umbrella stands regularly. Contact a qualified doctor or get in contact with emergency services if you suspect you have malaria.
Should I Buy Anything To Prepare?
We have done some research for you to give you peace of mind the next time you go shopping. The items below are commonly used to prevent mosquito bites, thereby preventing catching malaria. It’s useful to keep these in your bag when you travel.
- Insect repellent marked with DEET are proven to be effective against mosquitoes
- Bed net to keep mosquitoes out of your sleeping area at night, they are most active in the dark
- Light coloured long sleeve shirts and light-coloured trousers to cover skin area and minimize chances of getting bitten
- Insect repelling patches can be stuck onto clothing to emit a smell that is pungent to mosquitoes
- Long socks to cover up the areas in-between pieces of clothing to close gaps
- Suitable drugs as suggested by a qualified healthcare professional