Are you traveling anytime soon? Maybe somewhere tropical? I hate to be a pest, but you need to make sure you protect yourself from malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. Malaria is a deadly yet preventable disease that is quite common in many popular tourist destinations (check out this CDC map to see if your destination is a malaria-endemic country). Here are 3 easy steps you can take to make sure your next tropical vacation is malaria-free.
In the US, you can get anti-malarial medications at your local pharmacy or travel clinic in less than an hour. Unfortunately, this is a privilege that millions around the world don’t have. Malaria claims over 600,000 lives each year, largely due to lack of access to medications, bed nets, and other cheap and effective malaria tools. Visit beatmalaria.org to learn how you can help provide malaria prevention and treatment to the people that need them most.
Your local clinic will likely have a few anti-malarial options, depending on where you’re traveling. The CDC has a great guide to help choose the drug that’s right for you. And remember: you must start taking these meds up to a week before you travel, so don’t leave it to the last minute!
No single malaria drug offers 100% protection from malaria, so you need to take additional precautions. That brings us to step #2…
This is absolutely critical because the mosquitoes that carry malaria primarily bite at night. If you’re able, choose a hotel that offers air-conditioned rooms with screened windows and doors. If you’re unable to stay in an air-conditioned/screened room, make sure your hotel has mosquito nets installed over their beds (see image below as an example).
For additional protection in your hotel room, I would recommend using plug-in mosquito repellents. Your hotel may have them available; if not, they’ll likely be available at a local market.
It’s so easy to overlook this step. Just imagine: you wake up in a tropical paradise. You’re figuring out the logistics of your upcoming adventure. You’re agonizing over what to wear. And you’ve got 15 minutes to make the hotel breakfast! My advice: buy a travel-sized insect repellent and bring it with you everywhere. Apply before you leave the hotel and re-apply often.
You can even buy insect-repellent clothing that is safe, odorless, and provides invisible barriers that keep mosquitoes and other insects away. United to Beat Malaria partners with two amazing insect-repellent clothing brands – Borne Clothing (t-shirts) and Shoo For Good (scarves, wraps, throws) – who donate a portion of their profits to our campaign. With every Borne and Shoo For Good purchase, you’re not just protecting yourself from mosquitoes – you’re providing malaria protection to families in malaria-endemic countries around the world.
Malaria has plagued humans for over 10,000 years. We can eradicate it in our lifetimes! The world has made remarkable progress this century, cutting the malaria mortality rate in half since 2000. Today, it costs less than $10 to protect a family from malaria, using a mosquito net or anti-malarial treatments. And yet, half the world remains at risk of this preventable disease – a disease of poverty that disproportionately impacts children and mothers in Africa.
We need people like you to stand up against this injustice. Visit beatmalaria.org to learn how you can take action.