Preventing Malaria

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There are a number of measures that are used to treat malaria and there is a code that you can follow called ABCD prevention. Each letter stands for a different method of prevention and if you follow this prevention, there is less chance of contracting malaria.

A stands for awareness. This is the first step in malaria prevention. If you are thinking of travelling, you need to understand the risks of the area you are travelling to. Check out the area to see if it has an endemic of malaria and look at fit for travel websites. The best thing to do is visit your doctor because they can give you advice on malaria and any other diseases that you may encounter. They can also give you advice on protecting yourself and help you take the necessary precautions before you travel.

B stands for bite prevention. Malaria is spread when an infected mosquito bites you so you need to minimise this risk as much as possible. You should stay somewhere that has air conditioning in the rooms or has screens to stop mosquitoes from entering the rooms. If this is not possible, you will need to sleep in an intact mosquito net. These nets have been sprayed with insecticide and as long as they are intact, they should protect you from mosquitoes. You can also get residual insecticide to spray the rooms and this is usually effective for a number of months. You should apply insect repellent frequently. Mosquitoes are most active at night so you should try to stay indoors and wear loose trousers and long sleeved shirts to cover as much of your skin as possible. It is important to note that ultrasound devices, garlic and vitamin B will not protect you from being bitten.

C stands for chemoprophylaxis. Anti-malarial tablets are given to travellers to take before, during and after your holiday. They attempt to offer some protection from malaria so that if you do get bitten, you hopefully will not catch the disease. However, they are not 100% effective. Your doctor will prescribe you the correct tablets depending on which region of the world you intend to visit and you must take them as instructed otherwise you will not be protected. You must also complete your treatment so do not just stop taking the tablets when you get home because it can take 2 weeks to months before malaria causes symptoms.

The last letter is D, which stands for diagnosis. This is an important aspect if you have been bitten because the quicker the diagnosis, the quicker you can get treatment and the more effective this will be. Malaria can quickly turn severe and cause other problems so the sooner you get treatment, the better the outlook for recovery. Therefore, if you notice any of the symptoms of malaria, contact your doctor immediately and tell them when and where it was that you travelled.

Treating Malaria

If you have malaria, you need to be given treatment and this is in the form of antimalarials. There are lots of different types of medication that can be given to treat the disease and usually you will need a combination of drugs in order to combat the disease because some types of parasite are drug resistant. The outlook is positive if you get treatment and there is a low rate of mortality if you get treatment. However, malaria can be fatal and often will be without treatment.

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