What is malaria?
Malaria is a serious infection which kills over 1 million people a year worldwide. It is classified as a tropical disease and is spread by mosquitoes which carry a type of parasite called Plasmodium.
Malaria is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, but can also occur in other areas such as South America, Central America, the Middle East and Asia. These areas are all known as malarious regions. Some people develop an immunity to malaria if they live in a malarious region (this means that they are immune to the disease due to their bodies having become ‘attuned’ to the possible threat of tropical diseases).
Symptoms of malaria include:
An overall feeling of weakness
After being bitten by a mosquito it may take a minimum of six days for your symptoms to develop.
Malaria is caused by an infection of the red blood cells by the parasite, plasmodium. Plasmodium is carried from person to person by mosquitoes which bite into flesh and suck up blood containing the parasite.
If you have been abroad and are suffering from the aforementioned symptoms upon returning to the UK, then make an appointment with your GP. He or she will assess your condition by asking you about your symptoms and by carrying out a physical examination. (Be sure to tell your GP that you have just returned from a malarious region.)
You will also have a blood test.
If you are actually abroad when your symptoms occur, find a doctor immediately (going to your nearest hospital is usually best). There, a blood test will also be taken and, if malaria is established as being the cause of your symptoms, you will be given appropriate treatment.
Effect on your life
If you are planning to travel in a malarious region you can avoid or reduce the risk of mosquito bites by:
Spraying your hotel room with insecticide just before evening
Only sleeping in rooms with close-fitting gauze over windows and doors
Applying insect repellent to clothing or exposed skin
The type of treatment you receive from your doctor will depend upon which malarious region you have visited, as the severity of malaria infections can differ depending on the country.
The standard treatment for malaria is quinine tablets which may cause side-effects such as nausea or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). After taking a course of quinine tablets you will be given a second medication, usually:
Doxycycline – for adults
Clindamycin – or pregnant women and children
Sulphadoxine with pyrimethamine – only used in the severest of cases
To prevent malaria take anti-malarial medication regularly, as prescribed. And be sure to have vaccinations for malaria before departing for a malarious region.
How Chemist Online can help
To help prevent malaria we have available to buy through this website Jungle Formula Plug-In Mosquito Killer, which kills mosquitoes, midges and other small flying insects by releasing a long lasting, odourless, insecticide vapour.
Advice & Support
Information on vaccines and immunisations as well as malaria prevention: www.masta.org
Malaria Foundation International: www.malaria.org
Leaflet: ‘Health Advice for Travellers Abroad’ by the Department of Health. This is available at main post offices, or by phoning 0800 555 777.
This information and advice is not intended to replace the advice of your GP or chemist. Chemist Online is also not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based upon the content of the Chemist Online website. Chemist Online is also not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.
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