While there is no vaccine for malaria, there are anti-malarial medications available, although these drugs are becoming less effective as the parasites that cause malaria grow increasingly resistant. The best method of malaria prevention is to avoid high-risk areas or, if this isn’t an option, do the following:
- Avoid outdoor activity at dusk as this is when the particular mosquito that can carry the parasites are most active.
- Wear long, loose clothing.
- Use a mosquito net around the bed.
- Use mosquito repellents on the skin, and use mosquito coils and other similar devices indoors.
The type of anti-malarial drugs most appropriate for you is dependent on how long you will be in high-risk areas, the particular malarial parasites present there and their resistance status, and your age and health. Come in and speak with us to discuss it further.
Pregnancy and malaria prevention
While it is rare for malaria to pass from mother to unborn child, the disease increases the risk of miscarriage or early labour, and may affect foetal development. Medical treatment for pregnant women is limited. It’s therefore recommended that pregnant women avoid malaria hot-spots.
What is malaria?
Malaria is an infection of the parasite Plasmodium, which is spread to humans by the female Anopheles species of mosquito. There are five species of Plasmodium, one of which, Plasmodium falciparum, is particularly dangerous and fatal in up to 10% of cases.
Once in your bloodstream, the parasite spreads to the liver where it multiplies and begins to infect red-blood cells, where they multiply further until the cell bursts. They move from cell to cell in this manner, furthering the destruction.
Symptoms can include fever, chills, headache, confusion, nausea, loss of appetite, cough, joint paint and diarrhoea.
For more information please view the Better Health website.
For information on other vaccines, see also: