Malaria kills around half a million people every year and remains a very dangerous disease. It is spread by mosquitoes and a single bite is enough to push the Plasmodia parasites into your bloodstream. NaTHNaC reports that it is ‘widely distributed throughout tropical regions in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Hispaniola, the Middle East and Oceania.’

Before you head to a tropical destination, make sure you research the malaria risks. Talk to your doctor about the most appropriate form of anti-malarial medication and make sure you follow instructions closely. Ask about side effects and what you should do to minimise them. Make sure you mention any pre-existing medical conditions or, if you could be pregnant, any potential pregnancies. When you are in the country, take consistent steps to reduce the likelihood of mosquito bites.

The NHS says symptoms normally appear 7-18 days after infection and can include

  • a high temperature (fever)
  • sweats and chills
  • headaches
  • vomiting
  • muscle pains
  • diarrhoea

Seek help as soon as you notice these symptoms, whether it is right after a trip to a malarial zone or many months later. When in doubt, talk to a medical professional as soon as possible.

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