As is the case with most diseases, it’s better to prevent them than to have to treat them, this is particularly true of malaria. If you are travelling to an area where malaria infections are prevalent, the threat of infection is very real and therefore malaria prophylaxis should be taken extremely seriously before you travel.
There are various different malaria prophylaxis methods, but the most widely used method involves the use of medications before and after your travels in a country where there is a high occurrence of the malaria parasite. However, although the use of medications is advised, there are also other measures that can be taken in addition to treatment in order to stop you from picking up the parasite.
Treatments for malaria prophylaxis
There are different types of medicines that can be taken to prevent malaria: the three main types recommended are Paludrine & Avloclor, Doxycycline and Malarone. These treatments are also known as antimalarials. However, it’s important that you take the correct one, a decision that will be influenced by the destination to which you are travelling. This is because some malaria parasites have developed immunity to some of the more commonly used malaria medications such as chloroquine, which is contained in Paludrine and Avloclor.
Generally, Doxycycline and Malarone can be taken for malaria prophylaxis if you are travelling to most destinations, however you can only use Paludrine & Avloclor in areas such as India, the Middle East and certain parts of South America. This is why your doctor or travel clinic will want to know the destination you are travelling to before recommending a prescription treatment for malaria prophylaxis.
You will likely have to start a malaria prophylaxis treatment a couple of weeks or days before and after your trip. This ensures that a sufficient amount can build up in your system to make sure it will provide effective malaria prophylaxis.
Malaria prophylaxis through bite avoidance
Even if you are taking a treatment for malaria prophylaxis, it’s generally also a good idea to ensure that you take additional precautions to avoid getting bitten. Most malaria areas will be equipped with mosquito nets, but depending on your destination it may be a good idea to invest in one yourself before travelling. They don’t take up much space and are relatively easy to set up.
You should also see if you can find out whether the hotel or accommodation you will be staying in is equipped with an air conditioner, so that you can keep doors and windows closed during the night time when the mosquitoes are at their most active.
You could also use mosquito repellents that contain diethyltoluamide; these repellents are available in many different forms and are generally applied to the skin. In addition to this you should try and wear loose-fitting long-sleeved clothing in the evenings to minimise getting bitten.