Malaria is an illness that is still highly prevalent around the world. This disease, caused by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito, can be life-threatening. The infection is usually more rampant in warm tropical and subtropical climates where the parasite thrives easily. So if you are travelling elsewhere, take some steps to take care of yourself. In this case, prevention is definitely better than cure!
The first step is to find out if this disease is prevalent in the area where you intend to travel. If so, a visit to your doctor is due. Obtain antimalarial medication and carry it with you.
Once there, you can take a number of preventative measures to ensure that you don’t contract malaria. The most sensible thing would be to try and not get bitten by mosquitoes. But this might not be as easy as you would think. You can, however, try these tricks to see if it works:
- Mosquitoes are active from dusk to dawn, so try to stay indoors during this period as much as possible.
- Try to get a room with air-conditioning, as that usually drives the mosquitoes out. They prefer warmth.
- Spray your room with a mosquito repellent in the late afternoon before the mosquitoes enter. This will prevent the mosquitoes from coming in, and you won’t have to breathe the chemicals over the night. You can find out from the locals which is the most effective repellent.
- Mosquito repellent ointments are also available. You can spread this liberally on the exposed portion of your skin when you go out or while you sleep.
- If you go out during the evenings, try to keep your skin covered. Wear full sleeves and cover your legs. Light coloured clothing can also act as a repellent to the mosquitoes.
- If you are camping out, then make sure that your camping gear is treated with insecticides. Your gear should definitely include mosquito nets for sleeping in.
But even with the best intentions and precautions, people do fall prey to the disease. When this happens, consult the nearest doctor at the earliest to confirm the diagnosis. The symptoms include nausea, tiredness, aches, shaking, fever, and general fatigue. The illness can become manifest around 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, though in some cases, people have been known to become ill after several months.
A blood test is the best way to get yourself diagnosed, so go to a hospital quickly. If you can’t reach a doctor right away, then take antimalarial medication until you can reach one. Once diagnosed, you can start your treatment. Since this infection is often prone to relapse as the parasite can live in your bloodstream for up to 4 years, it is important for you to complete the full course of the treatment and go back for check-ups.
Malaria can give you a tough time, but it is a disease that you can both prevent and cure, provided you are careful.