malaria Archives - Medshield Movement

Best Travel Tips For Visiting A Malaria Area

On 25 April, World Malaria Day is observed and a reminder that the world’s deadliest insect is the tiny mosquito. Here is some medical advice to consider when travelling to an area where malaria is prevalent.

In South Africa, we have small pockets of the country where malaria is still a concern – and some of these happen to be in our tourist hotspots of the Kruger National Park and surrounding bushveld in Limpopo and Mpumalanga and in KwaZulu-Natal. The good news is that from May to September, the risk of getting malaria during these months is much lower and, so, planning a bush trip in winter is an ideal time! But no matter what time of year you decide to travel, here, we provide the know-how needed for visiting a malaria area.

  1. Know Your Risk
    The first step in your travel prep is to look up the area you’re visiting and check for updated information on risk. For example, reports show us that in March 2017, after a seasonal malaria breakout in Limpopo, the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) received reports of malaria in the Waterberg District.
  2. Speak to Your Doctor
    If you are visiting a malaria area that’s high risk, it’s important to discuss your travel details with your doctor who will be able to advise the best course of action and medication based on your travel plans and medical history.
    The SA National Department of Health recommends taking malaria chemoprophylaxis (the administration of a medication for the purpose of preventing disease or infection) during September to May when in high risk areas.
    The CDC has comprehensive information on types of medication available to prevent malaria, which you can read more about here: https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/drugs.html
  3. Manage Your Medication
    Depending on the outcome of step 2, above, you will likely need to start your medication before you travel. Additionally it’s important to take your medication consistently for the medication to be effective. Set an alarm each day to take your meds or make sure you have them routinely with meals.
  4. Practise Protection
    When at your travel destination, try to limit exposure as much as you can with smart protection methods. These include: putting on insect repellent creams and sprays – and reapply regularly; sleep with mosquito nets above your bed; wear protective clothing with long sleeves and pants; and make sure to keep any screened or netted windows and doors closed. Also, avoid stagnant water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

 

Worried you may have been infected? Here’s all you need to know about the signs and symptoms of malaria: https://medshieldmovement.co.za/signs-and-symptoms-of-malaria/
For more on World Malaria Day, visit the World Health Organisation’s site here: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-malaria-day

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Signs and Symptoms of Malaria

The 20th of August is World Mosquito Day and even though there have been numerous advancements in the medical space concerning malaria, there is still a need to create awareness around the world’s deadliest insect.

World Mosquito Day marks the anniversary of the discovery that mosquitoes transmit the parasite that causes malaria. 126 years later, mosquito-borne diseases are still both widespread and difficult to treat. Even with global efforts to curb the impact of the disease on vulnerable populations, malaria continues to cause the death of many humans.

Studies from UNICEF claim that nearly every minute, a child under five dies of malaria. And many of these deaths are preventable and treatable. In 2021, 247-million malaria cases were opened, which led to 619 000 deaths. Because of this, it’s important to continue to create awareness about malaria so that these deaths can be prevented.

Areas of South Africa near borders such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique continue to be areas where malaria may occur, including some areas of the Kruger National Park. Here are the signs and symptoms to look out for if you’ve recently travelled to malaria-risk areas:

Signs and Symptoms of Malaria

Symptoms include:

  • flu-like symptoms
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may also occur
  • Potential yellowing of the skin

Signs include:

  • If you start to experience any of the above symptoms about 10 days after being in a malaria-risk area, contact your doctor immediately. It’s possible to experience symptoms as early as seven days, but typically they arise 10 to 14 days after infection.
  • The above symptoms then rapidly escalate and can become a severe life-threatening disease. Your doctor will be able to confirm that it is malaria after a blood test. The appropriate medication will then be prescribed. Hospitalisation may be necessary.
  • Some types of malaria stay in your system for years and may cause a “relapse”. Your doctor will be able to tell you if you have this type.

If you have any concerns about contracting malaria on your travels, consult with your medical doctor for the best way to manage the risk.

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