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Learn About Your Health: Malaria

Learn About Your Health: Malaria

Malaria is a tropical disease that is caused by being bitten by the dreaded malaria mosquito. Malaria is a very serious disease that kills more than one million people worldwide each year. Please exercise the preventative measures listed below in order to contain the spread of this potentially fatal disease.

 
 
FACTS ABOUT MALARIA
 
Who is at risk of getting malaria? Anyone who lives in or travels to a country where there are malaria infected people and mosquitoes are at risk. The map on this page indicates high-risk areas – both local and cross-border. Make sure you know what the malaria risk status is for your destination BEFORE you leave.
 
How soon do the symptoms of malaria appear?
 
The time between a mosquito bite and the start of the illness is usually about 21 days.
 
What are the symptoms of malaria?
 
Flu-like symptoms like fever, coughing and head-aches may appear. You have stomachache and diarrhea. You may have pain in your bones, muscles and joints.
 
How is malaria diagnosed?
 
You need to have a blood test to check for malaria parasites in your blood. Malaria must be treated with the correct medication, as it can result in kidney and liver failure, coma and death if left untreated.
 
THE SAFE USE OF MALARIA MEDICATION
 
Over-the-counter malaria medicine from your pharmacy is no longer effective in preventing malaria, as the malaria parasite has become immune to traditional malaria treatments – speak to your doctor for advice on which the best medication to take is.
 
  • Start your medication one or two weeks before travel, continue throughout the trip and keep taking it for about four weeks after your return. 
  • Follow the recommended doses exactly as prescribed. 
  • Take your pills after meals on the same day each week, and later on, at the same time each day. 
  • Do not stop taking the pills after arriving home – complete the full dosage.
  • If you have any medical conditions like epilepsy, heart problems or allergies, mention this to your doctor so that he can prescribe a safe malaria treatment suited to your condition.
  • No treatment is 100 % effective. If you have “flu-like” symptoms after you have been to a malaria risk area, consult your doctor. 
 
HIGH RISK AREA MAP
 
 
 
The red sector on this map indicates areas where Malaria transmission occurs. 
 
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
 
  • Please consult your health care adviser about three weeks before the start of your trip for advice on the best prescription malaria medication available.
  • Remain indoors between dusk and dawn – malaria mosquitoes only bite at night!
  • Spray inside areas with insect spray after you have closed up all windows and doors for the night. 
  • Drivers beware – spray insect spray inside the cab and let it stand for about 5-10 minutes with all windows and doors closed. 
  • Do not sit inside the cab while spraying – the poison is for the mozzies – not you!
  • Use an insect repellent that contains DEET on exposed skin, especially at night. 
  • Wear long-sleeved, light coloured clothing, trousers and socks when outdoors sleep under a mosquito-proof bed net that has been treated with insect repellent. 
  • If you have traveled into a malaria risk area and you experience any flu-like symptoms – consult your doctor immediately! 
  • Choose your overnight stops with care – risk will be lowest in buildings with doors and windows fitted with insect screens. 
  • Air conditioners and fans are also effective in keeping mosquitoes at bay.

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