Amongst the last minute packing and other things that frequent travelers have to worry about, malaria is always on the top of the list. Malaria is a widespread disease that tends to hit those in tropical and subtropical areas like Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and South America. The disease itself is caused by a microorganism called protists, of the genus Plasmodium, that is transmitted to humans and other vertebrates through the saliva of a female mosquito.
Once the microorganism is in the blood, the protists travel to the liver where it matures and reproduces causing malaria. Malaria causes the individual to have symptoms that usually include fever, headaches, sweats, and in more severe cases it can progress to coma or death. Although there is no completely fool-proof way of keeping out of malaria’s way, there are ways to avoid the mosquitoes that carry it. Here are 5 of the most important ways that travelers can prevent malaria:
One: The first way to protect yourself from malaria is to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Don’t sleep out in the open or near to any places that have stagnant water. Avoid sleeping in areas that are close to lakes, ponds, garbage dumps, flower beds, or even fish tanks. These are the perfect places for mosquitoes to reproduce more carriers of the malarial parasite. Keep a mosquito spray handy in your room and cover your bed with an enclosed mesh that has been sprayed with insecticides so that you can ward off the mosquitoes while you are asleep.
Always check that the mesh doesn’t have any holes or damages. It’s not advised to sleep outdoor in places that where malaria is rampant, but should you need to, cover the top of your tent with mosquito mesh and ensure that there are no holes in the tent or the mesh through which mosquitoes can get through. Wear long-sleeved garments when you are sleeping. This might be a bit uncomfortable if you are in a hot region, but it will help to keep your skin protected.
Two: Pack a lot of mosquito repellents. Using mosquito sprays, mats, or coils are your next preventative measure against mosquitoes and malaria. Use these in your bedroom, dining room, living room, and anywhere else that you will be sitting or standing for a longer period of time. Apply mosquito repellent lotions or creams to all the exposed parts of your body as well. This is almost more important than dispelling mosquitoes through other repellents since this protects your skin whether or not you are in reach of the coil, mat, or spray.
Three: When you are planning to travel to a tropical location where outbreaks of malaria are frequent, doctors usually recommend that you get a prescription for a prophylactic dosage of an antimalarial drug. This should be taken before and after your travels. Malaria tablets like Malarone tablets are 98% effective in treating and preventing you from the infection of plasmodium. Malarone works by killing the parasites that cause malaria.
Four: Run a blood test before you travel so that your doctor can ensure that you are not at risk through infected blood. Malaria can also spread through the transfusion of infected blood. This is why the use of shared needles is never advised. While malaria is not contagious, it certainly can be passed on through blood from person to person.
Five: Research natural remedies that prevent malaria. Studies have shown that fenugreek seeds actually prevent malaria because it helps with the removal of malarial parasites from your body. Grapefruit also contains well-known antimalarial substances called quinine.