To reduce the risk of getting malaria, especially if you live in or are traveling to an area where the disease is prevalent, there are several preventive measures you can take. As you would expect, our primary recommendations are (a) visit a travel clinic before you go and (b) get a malaria prescription. Additionally, here are some key strategies to avoid contracting malaria:
Use insecticide-treated bed nets: Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. Sleep under a bed net that has been treated with insecticide, as it helps prevent mosquito bites while you sleep. Ensure the net is intact and properly tucked in to create a barrier against mosquitoes.
Apply mosquito repellents: Use mosquito repellents on exposed skin and clothing. Look for repellents containing ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Follow the instructions on the product for proper and safe application.
Wear protective clothing: Cover your body as much as possible with long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes, especially during evening and nighttime when mosquitoes are most active.
Stay in screened or air-conditioned accommodations: If possible, choose accommodations with screens on doors and windows, or opt for places with air conditioning, as it helps keep mosquitoes out.
Avoid outdoor exposure during peak mosquito activity: Mosquitoes that transmit malaria are most active during dusk and dawn. Minimize outdoor activities during these times and take extra precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Eliminate mosquito breeding sites: Reduce mosquito populations by eliminating or minimizing standing water sources around your home or accommodation. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so emptying, covering, or treating containers that hold water can help reduce their numbers.
Be aware of your surroundings: Educate yourself about the prevalence of malaria in the areas you plan to visit. Stay informed about any outbreaks or high-risk regions and take necessary precautions accordingly.
Remember, these preventive measures are most effective when used in combination. It is crucial to seek advice from healthcare professionals, particularly if you are planning to travel to malaria-endemic areas, as they can provide specific guidance based on your individual circumstances and the latest recommendations for malaria prevention.