There' s a significant risk of getting malaria if you travel to an affected area. It's very important you take precautions to prevent the disease.
Malaria can often be avoided using the ABCD approach to prevention, which stands for:
These are outlined in more detail below.
To check whether you need to take preventative malaria treatment for the countries you're visiting, see the Fit for Travel or National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) websites.
It's also important to visit your GP or local travel clinic for malaria advice as soon as you know where you're going to be travelling.
Even if you grew up in a country where malaria is common, you still need to take precautions to protect yourself from infection if you're travelling to a risk area.
Nobody has complete immunity to malaria, and any level of natural protection you may have had is quickly lost when you move out of a risk area.
It's not possible to avoid mosquito bites completely, but the less you're bitten, the less likely you are to get malaria.
To avoid being bitten:
There's no evidence to suggest homeopathy remedies, electronic buzzers, vitamins B1 or B12 , garlic, yeast extract spread (such as Marmite), tea tree oils or bath oils offer any protection against mosquito bites.
There's currently no vaccine available that offers protection against malaria, so it's very important to take antimalarial medication to reduce your chances of getting the disease.
However, antimalarials only reduce your risk of infection by about 90%, so taking steps to avoid bites is also important.
When taking antimalarial medication:
Check with your GP to make sure you're prescribed a medication you can tolerate. You may be more at risk from side effects if you:
If you've taken antimalarial medication in the past, don't assume it's suitable for future trips. The antimalarial you need to take depends on which strain of malaria is carried by the mosquitoes and whether they're resistant to certain types of antimalarial medication.
In the UK, chloroquine and proguanil can be bought over the counter from local pharmacies. However, you should seek medical advice before buying it as it's rarely recommended nowadays. For all other antimalarial tablets, you'll need a prescription from your GP.
Malaria can get worse very quickly, so it's important that it's diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
If you develop symptoms of malaria while still taking antimalarial tablets, either while you're travelling or in the days and weeks after you return, remember to tell the doctor which type you have been taking. The same type of antimalarial shouldn't be used to treat you as well.
If you develop symptoms after returning home, visit your GP or a hospital doctor and tell them which countries you've travelled to in the last 12 months, including any brief stopovers.
Malaria is a serious tropical disease spread by mosquitoes. If it is not diagnosed and treated promptly, it can be fatal. A single mosquito bite is all it takes for someone to become infected. It's also important to be aware of the symptoms of malaria.
Symptoms of malaria can develop as quickly as seven days after you are bitten by an infected mosquito. Typically, the time between being infected an dwhen symptoms start (incubation period) is 7 to 18 days.
Malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. The parasite can be spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. There are many different types of plasmodium parasite, but only five types cause malaria in humans.
Antimalarial medication is used to prevent and treat malaria. You should always consider taking antimalarial medicine when travelling to areas where there's a risk of malaria.
Malaria is a serious illness that can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated quickly, particularly in pregnant women, babies, young children and the elderly. The Plasmodium falciparum parasite causes the most severe malaria symptoms and most deaths.
There is a significant risk of getting malaria if you travel to an affected area. It is therefore very important that you take precautions to prevent it. Malaria can often be avoided using the ABCD approach to prevention.