This is a guest post on malaria geared for travellers from the UK, but the lessons are valuable to anyone that is planning on traveling to an area where malaria is endemic.
The unprepared traveller can fall into all sorts of pitfalls before heading out on holiday, and if you’ve had a trip abroad without the necessary planning, you’ll have probably fallen foul of one or two miniature tragedies. While you may find yourself running low on travel money or have trouble with a local dialect that you didn’t factor into your pre-holiday language studies, there are much bigger things to worry about if you’re heading to tropical destinations.
If you find yourself jetting out to certain parts of Africa, Asia or the Americas, you could put your life in danger – that is, if you don’t take the necessary precautions to deal with malaria. Luckily, with the correct research into travel vaccinations – particularly malaria tablets – you can stay healthy and overcome the possibility of this debilitating disease. Online chemists such as Lloyds can help you research which travel vaccinations you need.
Malaria claims the lives of around one million people each year, making it one of the biggest killers in the world. Spread by night-biting mosquitoes, it only takes one bite to get infected. A lack of preparation from UK travellers alone means that 1,500 travellers come back infected to the UK every year, with around half a dozen deaths.
Most travellers in the UK who catch malaria tend to forget to take malaria tablets, or may not take the ones prescribed for the specific part of the world they decide to visit. Before you go to your dream destination, first check how it is affected at a trusted site like Malaria Hotspots and then visit your local travel health clinic for prevention advice.
While they will likely focus on the medication side of things, it’s worth thinking ahead with other measures to prevent catching malaria. Insect repellents are a very important investment and when you buy them, you need to ensure that they contain between 20 and 50 per cent DEET. You apply this to exposed skin and on top of a sunblock, while it’s also good to put on cotton clothing for added protection.
If the climate allows you, keep your arms, legs and feet covered and try to stay indoors when mosquitoes are at their most active – essentially when the sun is out of the sky. Make sure the place you stay also provides mosquito nets impregnated with chemicals to protect you as you sleep.
Finally, be aware of different treatment options. None of the tablets are 100% effective and it’s worth knowing what medications are commonly used to treat the strain of malaria found at your destination.
Remember that the best thing you can do to prevent malaria is take the tablets. You can never guarantee that you will stop the disease with sprays and netting alone, so never forget your daily dose.
Thanks to Lloyd’s Pharmacy for making this post possible!
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ghyoom/5131555168/