5 ways to avoid malaria

To help raise awareness of World Malaria Day we're offering you five top tips on how to avoid the deadly disease

6 mins

1. Visit your GP - well in advance

In order to prescribe the right anti-malarial pills, your GP will need to know exactly where you are going, when, and any other medication you'll be taking while you're there. Side effects can occur with some pills so it's best to discuss your options first, and to allow a trial period to rule out any adverse effects. Most GPs advise to book an appointment at least 6 weeks before travel.

2. Get yourself a net

It's simple: if there's a net between you and the mosquito, you probably won't get bitten. Some nets are treated with Permethrin, a type of insect repellent, so check the label. There are a variety of nets on the market, the most popular being box and wedge shapes. If possible, it's worth checking what type of accommodation you'll be in - wedge shapes are easy to hang from two hooks (eg. from a wall) but box nets are less restrictive, provided you have four hooks from which to suspend them.

3. Choose your room carefully

If have a choice, always go for accommodation with nets over windows and doorways. Mosquito nets over beds are great, but if you need to get up in the night you're completely exposed without the screens. Remember to keep all doors and windows closed, especially once night falls.

4. Slather on the repellant

Invest in a good repellant with at least 50% deet. This is strong stuff and can be pricey, so it's worth picking up a few bottles from high street pharmacists during summer promotions. Gels are best for scrupulous coverage, but you'll have to wash your hands after applying (not great when water is scarce). Sprays are a good option, but pump action dispensers can leak or fail when you're trying to reach tricky areas like the backs of your legs. Aerosols are much more versatile - and eliminate leakage - but can be bulky when space is tight. Deet can corrode plastics and material, so pack it carefully.

5. Cover up

Chances are, if you're in an area where malaria is rife, you shouldn't be flashing the flesh anyway, but – local customs aside – long sleeves and trousers are an effective way to avoid getting bitten. To avoid sweating off all that repellant choose light, loose-fitting material - and always keep your ankles covered (mosquitoes tend to fly at ankle-height)

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