If you are planning a trekking holiday to certain regions of the world, the one thing you should consider very carefully is malaria prevention. Malaria is spread by mosquitoes that are infected with the malaria parasite. The mosquitoes transmit the disease when they bite human beings in order to feed on blood. It is a preventable disease but only if precautionary measures are put in place before travelling.
Before you travel, book an appointment with your GP or holiday clinic regarding the country you are visiting so that you get proper advice. You will need to know what region you are travelling to so that you can discuss the risks and any preventative treatment that may be necessary. Remember the A,B,C,D of malaria prevention.
A is for awareness of the risk. Be aware of the risks of malaria in the area you are planning to travel to. Some countries have a higher risk than others and you need to check carefully what the risks are. Using an independent health advice website such as www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk can give you an accurate picture of what the risks are for the country you are planning to visit.
B is for bite prevention. Preventing bites by using a good quality insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and long trousers, and, using a mosquito net which has been impregnated with a suitable insecticide over your bed. Your accommodation may not require a mosquito net but having one packed is a good idea just in case. The nets are lightweight and fold into very small packages so won’t add to your luggage. There are many different types of insect repellent that will be suitable however, those containing diethyltoluamide or DEET are very effective and last for up to 6 hours. It is important to reapply insect repellent regularly to keep mosquitoes away.
C is for check whether you require anti-malaria medication and if you do, make sure that you have the right medication at the right dose, complete the course and do not skip any of the meds. This is where a consultation with your doctor is important so that you can be given the correct medication that will suit you and will take into account your medical history and any other medication you are taking.
D is for diagnosis. If you begin to suffer from any of the symptoms of malaria, seek medical attention immediately. You may be at risk of symptoms for up to 12 months after your trip, so be vigilant. Some of the symptoms of malaria include: fever, headache, chills, general aching, vomiting, muscle cramps and diarrhoea.
Many people enjoy trekking holidays abroad and experiencing the wonders of another country. There are walking and hiking holidays to suit all abilities with destinations such as India, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, China, Tanzania and Nepal being very popular but which are also known to be malaria risky in certain parts. This is why proper research is required before you go so that you can protect yourself if you are going to a known malaria region.