When considering malaria risk, travellers should bear in mind that NO Anti-malarial provides 100% protection against the disease. Thus avoiding mosquito bites remains the cornerstone of protection against malaria. DO NOT GET BITTEN!
Avoidance of mosquito bites
- Where possible avoid going outdoors between dusk and dawn.
- Wear long sleeves to cover your arms and long trousers to cover your ankles.
- Avoid dark coloured clothing – it retains heat and attracts mosquitoes.
- If possible choose an air-conditioned room.
- Keep doors and windows closed.
- Avoid using perfumes and aftershaves – the smells attract mosquitoes.
- Choose a room above the third floor. Insects don’t tend to fly to this height.
- If living in the area ensure there are no open water containers. Still water is often the preferred breading ground of numerous insects.
- When choosing a repellent remember that products with between 30 to 50% DEET (diethyltolumide) are the most effective. Higher dosages of DEET are available.
- Use a Mosquito net if sleeping outdoors or in a room without proper fly screening. Ensure that it is correctly fitted.
- Use Mosquito nets impregnated with permethrin to discourage insects from landing on the net and possibly biting its slumbering occupant through the holes.
- Use sprays around dawn and dusk (mosquito’s most active time of day).
- Mosquito coils and plug-in repellents are very effective, and should be used if available.
- High pitched buzzers are not effective.
Reactions and Allergies
- Creams which contain steroids are most effective against itching bites.
- Carry some anti histamine tablets. Remember these react with alcohol so reduce your intact or abstain.
- If your allergy is very severe you may need to take anti histamine throughout your time abroad. In this case start the day before you arrive and for a day after you return. More modern anti histamines are now non-sedative.
Easing and Soothing
- Try to avoid scratching bites as this is how they become infected. Rubbing gently will have the same soothing effect and lead to less trouble.
- Try a lukewarm bath or shower to ease the itching.
- If irritation is severe try antihistamine tablets at night.
- Seek medical advice before you travel especially if you are prone to reactions.
- If you have been bitten badly attend a doctor on your return.