This World Mosquito Day, make sure you are fully covered for your travels

For over 120 years, World Mosquito Day has aimed to spread awareness of the risks mosquitos pose to our health and safety. The awareness day was first established back in 1897, when Sir Ronald Ross discovered the link between mosquitos and the transmission of the malaria virus. Not only is the day a nod to the great work of Sir Ross and the scientists who have continued his work; it is also a chance for people to understand more about the risks of malaria and how to treat it. Many establishments also use it as an opportunity to fundraise for research into a malaria cure.

In honour of World Mosquito Day 2018, let’s remind ourselves of the warning signs for malaria, and how you can prevent it.

What you need to know about malaria

Malaria is a serious disease, spread mainly in tropical locations where mosquitos thrive. A single bite from a mosquito can be enough to cause infection, and if the disease isn’t treated effectively it can be fatal.

According to the 2014 World Malaria Report, there were around 198 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2013. This resulted in more than 584,000 deaths.

The virus is caused by a kind of parasite known as Plasmodium. There are many different types of this parasite, but only five have been established to cause malaria. When an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasite passes into the bloodstream.

Symptoms usually appear 7 to 18 days after infection, but can sometimes not appear for a year or more. These symptoms include:

  • Sweats and chills
  • A fever and high temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches

The condition is found in over 100 countries around the world, most of which are tropical. If you are travelling, you should check whether your destination is a high-risk area. These include

  • Central and South America
  • Large parts of Africa and Asia
  • Haiti
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Parts of the Middle East
  • Certain Pacific Islands

Our advice for travellers

There is no doubt that malaria is a serious condition, but if it is diagnosed and treated properly virtually everyone can make a full recovery. Antimalarial medication is used to both treat and prevent the disease. The type of medication used and the length of treatment will depend on the kind of malaria you’ve contracted, where you caught it and how severe your symptoms are.

Although treating malaria is possible, ideally you should be aiming to avoid the condition altogether. The first and most vital step to effectively preventing malaria is to get fully vaccinated before you travel. This allows you to enjoy your holiday without worry. Malaria vaccinations are available from Express Travel Clinic.

An easy way to remember how else to prevent malaria is to follow the ABCD approach:

  • Awareness of risk – find out whether your destination carries a high risk of malaria
  • Bite prevention – use insect repellent, cover your arms and legs and hang a mosquito net to avoid bites
  • Check whether you need to take medication – you should be sure of the dosage and type of medication before you travel
  • Diagnosis – if you do experience any symptoms at all, seek immediate medical support, even up to a year after your return

If you’re travelling this year, don’t hesitate. Ensure you are fully vaccinated and ready to enjoy your trip safely. Book with Express Travel Clinic today or pop in for a walk-in appointment.