Do not let the risk of Malaria ruin your African adventure
There are so many wonderful destinations in Africa aimed at delivering that once-in-a-lifetime adventure of a safari into the wilderness. But so many of these destinations are plagued by malaria and could cause some rather unpleasant consequences if not addressed. The obvious choice is to take medication to prevent malaria when travelling. However, some strains of malaria are drug resistant and many people get ill from the medication.
Another option would be to find a malaria free destination, like Swaziland.
Malaria is a top killer throughout Africa and it is caused only be the female Anopheles mosquito. It is mostly the low lying areas “lowveld” and more tropical regions that carry Malaria risk – and so please take note of these ABC’s for your protection
A – for awareness. Being aware of the risk is your first line of defense.
B – for bite avoidance. Not getting bitten should be your number one aim. (Even in a non-malaria area, no one wants to have the irritation of itchy bites!)
- Wear Protective clothing
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in light colours such as beige or yellow. Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes, as does the scent of perfume or after-shave lotion.
- Use Mosquito repellent on your skin and clothes and apply liberally.
- Apply mosquito repellent, available in sprays, lotions and towelettes, to all exposed areas of skin, as well as clothes. (Avoid your mouth and eyes). Re-apply every few hours accordingly to the manufacturer’s directions for continuous protection.
- Pyrethrum insecticides (brand names: Raid, Doom etc.) Pyrethrum insecticides kill mosquitoes instantly, but frequent spraying is necessary. In the early evening, we recommend that you spray under the bed, as well as walls, baseboards, corners, furniture, behind pictures and inside closets in the bedroom, and under the sink in the bathroom. Close up the room and leave for a couple of hours – you will have killed any lurking mozzies! (Caution: repellent may damage plastic items such as eye-glass frames, watch crystals, nail polish, etc.)
C – for chemoprophylaxis. This means taking preventive methods when traveling into a malaria region.
If you are traveling to a known malaria area, speak to your travel clinic or doctor to get the best medication to suit you. Ensure that you finish the dose even when you return home. Be aware that medication may not prevent you getting malaria and may mask the test results.
D – for diagnosis. If you are unfortunate enough to contract malaria, prompt attention and treatment of it is essential.
If you feel as if you have flu symptoms, have headaches, temperature or body aches, go to a hospital or doctor without delay and tell them that you have been in a malaria area. This could save your life!