Malaria for the travelling family

Malaria for the travelling family

Malaria remains a significant threat to public health, and a vast majority of cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Families travelling to Malaria areas should take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against the disease.

 

What is Malaria?

 

Malaria is a life-threatening parasitic infection, which is transmitted by infected female mosquitoes. Symptoms of Malaria often start a week or two after a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito, and include fever, chills, headache and vomiting. Malaria does not spread between people, and you cannot get Malaria if you were not bitten by a mosquito.

 

Travelling wisely

 

If you’re planning a getaway locally or overseas, check the Malaria status of all your destinations. If you are going to a Malaria area, you’ll need to take several preventive measures to make sure you and your family return home healthy and uninfected. Discuss preventive Malaria medicine with your doctor. Several medicines are used to prevent Malaria, and often you will have to continue taking the medicine even after you have returned from your trip. Side effects should also be considered as some anti-Malarial medicines can cause bad side effects. After making sure what medicine each member of the family will be taking, it’s worth spending some time to pack non-medical Malaria preventives as well. Try to sleep with mosquito nets, and make sure everyone wears long pants and long sleeves in the evenings, when mosquitoes feed. Natural repellents such as citronella are great, and having everyone reapply a mosquito spray and using mats or coils that repel mosquitoes can help keep them at bay.

 

What to do if you suspect Malaria

 

If you or anyone in the family become sick during or shortly after a journey to a Malaria area, you should get medical attention promptly and inform your doctor of where you have been. There may be another explanation for your symptoms, but having a blood test for Malaria is important so that treatment can start immediately if you are infected.

 

The information in this article is intended for general purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.