Malaria Tablets

Malaria is an infectious disease that is spread by the female Anopheles mosquito. If not diagnosed early, this disease can be fatal. Malaria can be found almost everywhere, but is most common in tropical and subtropical regions. There are no known vaccinations that work against malaria, however, malaria tablets are highly effective at disease prevention.

Confidential Clinics stock anti-malaria tablets that provide invaluable protection against this life-threatening disease when you travel in high-risk areas.

Symptoms of Malaria

The common symptoms of malaria include:

  • Fever
  • Severe headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Intense sweating
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Hot and cold chills

These malaria symptoms can take up to a week to develop. In some cases, symptoms may not appear for up to three years. Any signs of malaria infection must be assessed by your GP right away especially if you’ve been to high-risk areas. If not treated promptly, these symptoms may lead to organ failure and eventually, death.

What Makes Malaria Dangerous?

Malaria is spread by the bites of an infected female Anopheles mosquito which serves as a carrier of Plasmodium, a parasite. This parasite then enters the bloodstream. It targets the liver and begins the infection from there.

Once the infection is in full bloom, the Plasmodium re-enters the bloodstream --- attacking every red blood cell that it comes in contact with. The parasite also begins to multiply during this stage. There are several types of Plasmodium but only five are known to cause malaria in humans.

Malaria does not spread directly from one person to another. But it can infect a mosquito if it bites a person suffering from the disease. The mosquito can then spread the disease further.

Different Types of Malaria

The type of malaria depends on the kind of Plasmodium that caused the infection. There are only 5 types of Plasmodium known to cause malaria in humans. These are:

  • Plasmodium Knowlesi – A rare type of malaria that’s been found to infect humans in the forests of Southeast Asia especially Borneo.
  • Plasmodium Malariae – A less dangerous form of malaria that’s common in Africa. The characteristic symptom of this disease is Quartan Fever --- a kind of fever that recurs every three days.
  • Plasmodium Ovale – This is a rare type of malaria that’s common in Western Africa. This type of Plasmodium can stay in your liver for years without any symptoms.
  • Plasmodium Vivax – This parasite is responsible for most cases of malaria around the globe and it’s commonly found in South America and Asia. This Plasmodium can stay in your liver for a maximum of three years and may cause several relapses of malaria.
  • Plasmodium Falciparum – Another common type of malaria parasite. Commonly found in Africa, this type of Plasmodium is more deadly than Plasmodium Vivax.

High Risks Areas for Malaria

Malaria is present in most countries but it is more common in the tropics and subtropics. Mosquitoes thrive in a warm climate with lots of water so it’s no surprise that malaria will be more prevalent in these regions:

  • South Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • Oceania (such as Polynesia, Fiji, etc.)
  • Africa
  • The Caribbean
  • Central and South America

How to Avoid Mosquito Bites

Most mosquitoes tend to bite more at dusk, night, and dawn. During these times make sure to:

  • Use insect repellants that have at least 50% DEET on exposed skin --- especially around the ankles.
  • Wear long sleeves. Cover as much area of your skin as possible.
  • If you are in malaria high-risk areas, avoid exposing too much skin during dusk, night, and dawn. Always carry an insect repellant with you.
  • Use a mosquito net or sleep in rooms with screened or closed windows to minimize your exposure.
  • Mosquito coils, candle, and sprays that have insect repellent ingredients can reduce your risk of mosquito bites.
  • Be wary of citronella, perfume, Vitamin B, ultrasound devices, tonic water, and other homoeopathic products as these are not proven to repel mosquitoes.
  • If you are looking for long-term protection, consider using insecticidal nets which can last for three years. These are ideal for protecting children, elderlies, and pregnant women.

Protect Yourself with Malaria Tablets

There are different types of malaria tablets that prevent the disease.. What you need will depend on your budget and the length of your travel aboard. Malaria tablets are not usually available free of charge on the NHS, as supply is limited to people who suffer from specific medical issues and therefore not available for those who require Malaria prevention for recreation or travel.

Some anti-malaria tablets are available over the counter without a GP prescription.


Doxycycline

Dosage: One tablet per day

When to Start: 1-2 days before travelling to a high-risk area

When to Finish: 4 weeks after you left a malaria high-risk area

Side Effects: Your skin may become more sensitive to sunlight. Avoid strong direct sunlight because you may get a sunburn. To reduce this risk, use a sunscreen with high SPF.

Malarone (Atovaquone/Proguanil)

Dosage: One tablet per day

When to Start: 1-2 days before travelling to a high-risk area

When to Finish: 1 week after you left a malaria high-risk area

Side Effects: Rare

Lariam (Mefloquine)

Dosage: One tablet per week

When to Start: 2-3 weeks before travelling to a high-risk area

When to Finish: 4 weeks after you left a malaria high-risk area

Side Effects: Dizziness, anxiety, mood swings. This medication is not for patients with depression, anxiety disorder, convulsions, schizophrenia, and psychosis.


Weeks before your travel, make sure to check your destination in fitfortravel.nhs.uk to see if there’s a need for an anti-malarial treatment. Make sure to follow the treatment as recommended to reduce your risks of catching malaria. Remember that no anti-malaria tablet is 100 per cent effective so due diligence is still important. Make sure to follow our recommendations above and avoid mosquito bites as much as possible.

Contact us if you need help in choosing the best anti-malaria tablet for your needs.

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