Preventing Malaria During Travel

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not common in the United States but people traveling abroad should take special precautions. Dr. Edward Hill discusses these precautions in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Malaria is an infection that is carried by mosquitoes in some areas of the world. It is most common in parts of Africa, India and Southeast Asia. It also is found in Mexico, Central America and South America.

Symptoms include high fever, chills, muscle aches, joint pain and headaches. You should get medical attention if you have any of these symptoms while traveling in an area where malaria is common. Symptoms can appear up to one year after travel to these areas.

To protect yourself from malaria, you should use bed nets that are treated with insect repellent, and wear clothes treated with pesticides. You also should use a bug spray that keeps mosquitoes away. There are some medicines that prevent malaria if you start taking them before you travel.

Talk to your doctor before your trip. He or she will choose a medicine for you based on where you are going, your age and your medical conditions. Some malaria drugs are not recommended if you are pregnant.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.