woman using mosquito spray to prevent malaria
Going to an exotic destination soon? Have you checked whether the region is at risk for malaria?

Are you aware of the essential "strategies" concerning how to prevent malaria?

Find out the top ten ways to avoid getting ill on vacation and make the most of your holidays.

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The top 10 tips for preventing malaria

1. Determine your level of risk

Inform yourself about your destination and the risk for getting malaria. Things you should consider are: The time of year you are travelling, the length of your stay, the activities you plan to do and where you will be staying. The risk for an infection can vary considerably, even within a single country. Successful malaria prophylaxis depends on your knowledge - make sure you are in the know before you go.

2. Stay in well-screened areas at night

Avoid sleeping outside or in the vicinity of areas where mosquitoes like to live, e.g. standing water (tyres, lakes, waste dumps). If you are sleeping in a tent, make sure that there are no holes anywhere and keep the door closed at all times. These may be very basic rules, but they can significantly increase the success of your malaria prevention effort.

3. Always use a bed-net impregnated with insecticides

Check that the net is not damaged and always ensure it is properly tucked underneath your mattress. The room itself should have additional nets attached to the windows and doors. Keep the air conditioning on, as mosquitoes tend to stay out of cool, air-conditioned rooms.

4. Use mosquito repellent

Use an insect spray containing pyrethroids in all living and sleeping areas, especially during evening and nighttime hours.

5. Go for long sleeves

Wear long sleeved shirts and trousers in the evening and at night. The less skin that there is exposed, the better. Additionally, you can treat your clothes with permethrin in order to increase your protection.

6. Insect repellent again

Insect repellent creams or lotions should be applied to any remaining exposed parts of the skin, especially in the evening and during the night. It is advisable to apply the repellent during the daytime as well. You never know, a particular mosquito might decide to bite you in broad daylight.

7. Sunscreen comes first - repellent second

If you are using sunscreen, it should be applied first and the insect repellent second. The repellent will not work if you cover it with a thick layer of sunscreen. Alternatively, use a sunscreen that contains the repellent already.

8. Check the malaria risks - Get an antimalarial (if necessary)

Depending on the overall malaria risk at your destination, it might be necessary to practise malaria prophylaxis, either on a daily or a weekly basis. Consult with a travel clinic, healthcare provider or an online doctor service like ours (www.dred.com) well before your departure to discuss your specific preventive needs.

Depending on the medication you use, you will have to start taking the medication up to two weeks before entering the area. In areas of intermediate risk, it might be sufficient to carry a treatment course with you as a stand-by medication. You would only start taking the medication if you experience any flu-like symptoms during your journey.

9. Follow your prescription carefully

Do not forget to take the anti-malarial every day during your trip and do not stop taking it too early after your return. Most medications have to be continued for 4 weeks after you leave the malaria-affected area.

10. Be on the safe side

If you experience any flu-like symptoms within 6 months after your return, always inform any doctor treating you about the journey and the areas you have been to. Although an infection with malaria usually causes symptoms within 1 or two weeks, it could take a lot longer (months) for the actual disease to break out. Even if you have done everything right, there is always a risk of actually getting malaria.

Looking for malaria tablets before you take off? You can order your prescription online from DrEd.com and our London-based NHS-regulated doctors will dispatch your malaria tablets if you are suitable.

And finally: enjoy your trip!

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