Malaria is known to affect about 500 million people worldwide annually. It accounts for more than 1 million fatalities, mostly in African kids. Over the last few years, international travel, refugee migration, and immigration have remarkably increased incidence of malaria worldwide and especially in the United States of America in individuals returning from places where malaria is supposed to be endemic.
Determine the Risk Factors
Whenever you have travel plans, you must understand your risk of getting malaria and learn more about your destination. You must keep in mind certain important factors while traveling. They are the specific time of year the trip is being planned, the period of stay, the things you plan to take part in, and the place you intend to stay. The malaria risk would be varying even within a country. Perfect malaria prophylaxis would be depending basically on your level of knowledge about the place and the infection.
Know More about the Methods of Malaria Detection
Polymerase Chain Reaction is found to be more sensitive as compared to microscopy in identifying malaria parasites. You must understand the importance of proper treatment. However, effective treatment would be requiring precise lab diagnosis. In this context, P. falciparum that could be terminal must be effectively identified without losing any time and differentiated from all other Plasmodium species causing malaria, PCR is supposed to be a valuable addition to microscopy required for perfect confirmatory identification of the virus.
Stay in Safe Areas at Night
Do not sleep outdoors or in areas infested with mosquitoes such as standing water in lakes, waste dumps, or tires. If in case, you are planning to sleep in a tent at night, ensure that the tent has no holes and keep the flap closed throughout the night. These may sound to be pretty basic but these tips would go a long way in preventing malaria.
Use Mosquito Nets at Night
Consider using a bed net that has been impregnated with insecticide to keep mosquitoes away. The mosquito net must not be damaged or have any holes and should be tucked properly underneath the mattress. The windows and even the doors must have netting. Let the air condition be running all night as mosquitoes do not like cold environment so they prefer staying out of air-conditioned rooms.
Always Carry Mosquito Repellent
Use an insecticide in the sleep and living areas during the evening hours and at night. Use mosquito repellent creams or lotions in all the bare parts of your body. In this context, it is a good idea to wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers in the evening hours. Moreover, your clothes could be treated with permethrin for boosting protection.
Follow Carefully All Instructions in Your Prescription
You must remember to take an anti-malarial daily while on your trip. Most medications must be continued for a month even after you have left the malaria-affected region.
Conclusion: Be Safe
If you are not feeling too well and find flu-like symptoms even after six months post your return from a trip make it a point to inform your physician about your trip and the places you had been to. Malaria symptoms generally appear within one or two weeks but in some special cases, it may take months for malaria to break out. Follow the above-discussed tips to minimize the risk of malaria.