Travel Health

Protecting Against Malaria When Travelling

Malaria tablets

Protecting Against Malaria

When contemplating a trip to the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Central America or South America, tourists should make plans to protect themselves against malaria, a potentially fatal disease transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Because no vaccine exists that prevents malaria, people should take the following systematic measures to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes while on holiday.

1. Preventive medicine

A physician can recommend the correct medication to fend off species of malaria most common in the countries on one’s itinerary. Such medications as chloroquine, quinine and mefloquine may be appropriate. Tourists should be sure to take the medication according to their doctors’ instructions and complete the course of drug therapy even after returning home.

2. Wardrobe

Wearing appropriate clothing whilst travelling in malaria-friendly areas is another way that tourists can protect against infection. Because just a single mosquito bite can transmit the parasite, people should take care to cover as much vulnerable skin as possible with long-sleeves, pants and hats. Treating clothing with the insecticide permethrin will kill mosquitoes on contact before they have the chance to bite. Many outdoor clothing manufacturers sell clothing pre-treated with permethrin.

3. Insect repellent

Travellers who combine the use of a DEET (diethyltoluamide) insect repellent and permethrin treated clothing create the most effective barriers against mosquito infiltration. A repellent containing at least 30 percent DEET is the best combatant against bites. While people may prefer natural repellents for health reasons, the value of DEET in preventing malarial disease almost certainly outweighs its detriments.

4. Bed net

Mosquitoes bite both during daylight hours and at night, so tourists should either carry a protective bed net in their luggage for nighttime protection or should confirm in advance that their accommodations provide bed nets. While some species of malaria have developed resistance to some medications, they cannot penetrate mosquito netting. Netting permeated with permethrin is an even better barrier against mosquito bites.

5. Air conditioning

Travellers who stay in air-conditioned lodgings during holidays in malarial regions contract the disease less frequently than those in non-cooled rooms. Lower temperatures attract fewer mosquitoes. Insect repellents last longer on the skin if people do not sweating at night. Additionally, those who sleep comfortably do not disturb their bed netting to create openings where mosquitoes can gain access.

You can read more about trying to prevent this disease with:

Article written by Paul Symonds.

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