Ways to prevent yourself catching malaria extend beyond antimalarials. There is so much more you can do to make your journey safe. Some of the greatest ways to prevent yourself catching malaria don't involve antimalarials at all, but that doesn't mean they aren't essential. Make the most of all seven tips, and you can significantly reduce your risk.
One if the best ways to prevent yourself catching malaria is to know the signs. Malaria feels like the flu. You sweat profusely, often with breaks of 4-12 hours between feverish sweats. Your fever will be high grade. Some may also experience diarrhea or vomiting. If you experience a high fever and/or sweats within a year of going to an endemic area, see a physician ASAP.
Antimalarials are no longer expensive. This means there is no reason for not taking them. The cheapest are usually doxycycline or lariam. However, they are not always safe for pregnant women. To make sure you get the right ones, visit a travel clinic.
Deet with a strength of 30-50% prevents some mosquito bites. Apply yours before the evening kicks in. The female species of mosquito-which are the ones that carry the malaria parasite-come out at night. Make sure you apply every three hours and before bedtime. Re-apply after showering and pay particularly close attention to your legs and feet. A word of warning: you'll spend a few minutes spluttering if you don't use the spray version in an open space.
Sorry ladies, if you want to stays safe you need to ditch your little black dress. Light clothes repel mosquitoes. To an extent. So fall in love with pastels. Even better, give cream and white a go!
If you can, avoid going outside at night. If you need to, wear long sleeves. Clearly very few people go on vacation and stay indoors all evening. So now is a good time to invest in some long floaty trousers and light sweaters for the evening. Once you are indoors again, you can take your sweater off.
Okay, I am a little skeptical over this one. However, I did try it when I went to Cyprus and it sort of worked. Take garlic capsules and yeast tablets three weeks before the trip. Continue taking them throughout the trip. Apparently it makes your sebum smell, so mosquitoes don't want to bite you! That aside, garlic is a lovely little supplement, so you won't lose out by taking it for a little while!
Finally, buy yourself a mosquito net. This is especially important if you are going to a hostel, as the nets may be a bit worn. Your net will keep you protected at night. Nets are usually quite cheap. Shop around for yours and consider donating it after your vacation has ended! A lot of areas in the developing world suffer from a shortage of nets, so don't let yours lie dormant for no good reason.
Malaria is a terrible affliction that leads to many deaths worldwide. A lot of us are fortunate enough to be able to take the right steps to prevent it. If you have a greater interest in malaria, consider raising awareness among fellow travelers or getting involved with a charity! If you have some malaria preventing tips, please share them here!
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