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Malaria – know the risks before you travel

Main image 5 May, 2018

Malaria is a serious tropical disease spread mostly by mosquitoes. If it isn’t diagnosed and treated quickly it can be fatal.

A single mosquito bite is all it takes for someone to become infected, which is why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of malaria if you’re travelling to areas where there’s any risk of the disease. The symptoms can include:

  • A high temperature (fever)
  • Sweats and chills
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pains
  • Diarrhoea

Symptoms usually show 1-2 weeks after initial infection, but in some cases can take much longer to show.

Malaria risk areas

Malaria can be found in over 100 countries, of which most are tropical regions of the world, including:

  • Large areas of Africa and Asia
  • Central and South America
  • Haiti and the Dominican Republic
  • Parts of the Middle East
  • Some Pacific islands

Preventing malaria

For the most part, many cases of malaria can be avoided. Use the ABCD approach to prevention to keep yourself safe:

  • Awareness of risk – find out whether or not you could be at risk of getting malaria before you travel.
  • Bite prevention – use insect repellent as well as covering your arms and legs, and using an insecticide-treated mosquito net at night.
  • Check whether you need to take malaria prevention tablets – if you do, make sure you take the right antimalarial tablets at the right dose, and always finish the course.
  • Diagnosis – seek immediate medical advice if you develop malaria symptoms, as long as up to a year after you return from travelling, as symptoms can be delayed from the initial infection.

If malaria is diagnosed quickly and treated promptly, virtually everyone will make a full recovery. Treatment will be started as soon as the diagnosis has been confirmed.

Are you travelling soon?

If you are travelling abroad this year, visit our specialist travel clinic in Edinburgh, which provides vaccination advice and medication in one place – saving you time and money. Unlike many other surgeries, we carry a full range of vaccines, including the yellow fever vaccine.

Book an appointment at our specialist travel clinic or arrange a comprehensive post-travel health check using our online booking form.

Of course, you can also follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn too, where we provide lots of tips, advice and information.


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