A recent study estimates that as many as 1.2 million people died from malaria in 2010 alone. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 225 million people contracted malaria in 2009. With proper precautions, you can reduce your risk of contracting malaria by more than 90%. If you are traveling to tropical, subtropical, or other areas where malaria exists, protect yourself.
Protect Yourself From Malaria
- Insect Repellant with DEET - can be sprayed directly on the skin as well as clothing. DEET also helps protect against ticks, chiggers, and other insects which may spread disease.
- Insecticide Treated Mosquito Net - Twice as effective as mosquito nets which have not been treated with insecticide. The mosquitoes which carry malaria feed at night, so surrounding the entire bed, all the way to the floor with an ITN (insecticide treated net) helps to offer 70% or more protection against malaria.
- Long sleeve shirts, long pants - If you are going to be outside in the evening, nighttime, or early morning, it's important that you cover as much skin as possible. Long sleeve shirts and long pants help to act as a barrier between the mosquitoes and your skin.
- Preventative medication - A vaccine is not currently available for malaria however oral medications are available from a pharmacy, and they may require a prescription. Some countries where malaria exists have black market malaria medication available. It is not recommended to buy this or any other black market items as their effectiveness and quality is not known. Counterfeit malaria medications are common in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Locations of Malaria
According to the most recent data from the World Health Organization, locations where malaria may be present include: Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. Malaria is currently found in approximately 100 countries. If you are traveling to any of the above areas, consult the World Health Organization
's travel information for malaria before you leave.
Symptoms of Malaria
- Fever, Chills or Shivering, Excessive Sweating
- Headache, Body ache or Joint Pain
- Vomiting or nausea
- Anemia - a decrease in the number of red blood cells or less than normal hemoglobin in the blood
- Jaundice - a yellowish color to the skin or whites of the eyes
- Blurred vision - which may be caused by retinal damage
- Red colored urine - which may be caused by hemoglobinuria, a high concentration of hemoglobin
If you or someone you know experiences the above symptoms while traveling or after returning home from abroad (as malaria can take up to 3 weeks for symptoms to appear after infection), it's crucial that you seek medical attention right away. The best treatment for malaria, is education and proper prevention. Protect yourself against malaria while traveling and have a great time.