Those travelling to malaria endemic areas (refer to maps) need to consider the use of mosquito-repellants and appropriate anti-malarials. Preventing the mosquito bite is of cardinal importance. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers between dusk and dawn does help to minimize the exposure to bites. Avoiding the malaria zones at times of high rainfall (wet seasons) also helps minimize contact with mosquitoes and it is during this season that anti-malarials  must be strongly considered.

Always ensure that those individuals at highest risk of developing serious/complicated malaria need to be discouraged from entering these areas. This includes pregnant women, children under the age of 6, the elderly, splenectomised travellers and those who are immune-compromised (HIV, long-term steroid use and chemotherapy use within past 3 months). It is these individuals that should consider anti-malarials throughout the year ( all seasons) if they have unavoidable travel to malaria endemic areas.

Remember that no anti-malarial is 100% effective and should a traveller feel unwell a malaria test must done. Malaria symptoms include but not limited to high fevers, muscle aches, headaches, diarrhea and vomiting. In children the symptoms are more obscure and non-specific and may also include abdominal pain, lethargy, and a cough.

Anti-malarial use must be appropriate considering patient profile, length of stay and area to be visited.

The best mosquito repellant available is DEET (diethyltoluamide) for personal use. Some DEET preparations are also used to treat clothing. Citronella and the like do not have an adequate lasting effect  and thus cannot be recommended. Newer pyrethroid products (insecticides) available are useful for spraying bedding, sleeping quarters, clothing, window and door frames etc.  to further minimize risk of a bite.



Calm over the horizon

Many years ago, I worked for my parents who own a video production company. Because it is a family business, you inevitably end up wearing many hats and being the czar of many different jobs. I…