Malaria: follow these tips to avoid malaria while traveling


Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever experience a sharp increase in the monsoon season and one should beware of these mosquito bites. Each year, more than 200 million people suffer from malaria worldwide and an estimated 4,000,000 lives are lost each year.

During the monsoon, pools of standing water and rainwater serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and the hot and humid climate also increases the risk of disease transmission. Every year, the World Health Organization organizes awareness campaigns on malaria and this year also, the theme of World Mosquito Day 2021 has been chosen as “Achieving the goal of zero malaria”.

Here’s how you can prevent malaria while traveling:

According to medical reports, the risk of contracting malaria depends mainly on the geographic location and the travel season. Malaria is often present in the tropics and subtropics with hot and humid weather conditions, especially in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia between May and December.

If you are traveling to areas endemic to malaria, then you will need to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from the disease, especially during the monsoon season. Malaria can be prevented by using antimalarial drugs and taking precautionary measures against mosquito bites.

Here are some tips that can help you prevent malaria while traveling:

-Wear loose, long-sleeved clothing: Studies have shown that most malaria infections in a country occur in people who travel to places where malaria transmission continues. Make sure you choose the right clothes when traveling to prevent malaria. It is also advisable to use mosquito nets at night when traveling to areas endemic to malaria.

Loose, long-sleeved clothing should be worn which can help prevent mosquito bites at night. Close-fitting, tight-fitting clothing should be avoided as it allows mosquitoes to bite easily.

-Wear repellent and use a mosquito net: You can apply insect repellant to exposed skin as they contain 20-30% N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET). You can also spray insecticide or repellant on clothing, as most mosquitoes bite through thin clothing.

You can try mosquito repellent herbs like lavender, lemon balm, and rosemary to protect yourself from mosquito bites. You can also rub in essential oils like mint, basil, lemongrass and eucalyptus and use them as diffusers as they are effective.

But you need to make sure you don’t overdo the repellents and follow the guidelines mentioned to avoid the harmful effects.

-Keep your environment clean: Keeping your environment clean is one of the best recommended ways to protect yourself from malaria. When traveling, be sure to avoid loitering.

You should not allow water to collect around you. Avoid sorting water and keep pots and buckets upside down to avoid unnecessary build-up of standing water.

-Take medication before traveling: You can talk to your doctor in advance when you plan to go to an area prone to malaria. People traveling to cities and places where there is no risk of malaria may not need preventative drugs, but a route is important to determine the level of protection required.

Your medical history, the time elapsed before your departure and other factors will determine your medication. You should strictly adhere to the recommended drugs and antimalarial drug schedules necessary for effective protection.

-Watch out for signs and symptoms: Since mosquito-borne illnesses are common during monsoons, you should always watch out for symptoms. If you are looking for symptoms of malaria, you should see a doctor immediately. Fever, sweat, chills, headache, and fatigue are some of its common signs.

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