Individuals travelling to high risk regions should take precautions to prevent infection with malaria by avoiding mosquito bites. Travellers can avoid getting bitten by taking the following actions:
- Avoid being outdoors at night when mosquitos are most active.
- When outdoors ensure you wear loose fitting clothes and cover as much skin as possible.
- Use insect repellants which include at least 50% DEET (insecticide), repellants are available in various forms including aerosols, gels and room plug-ins.
- Sleep under mosquitos nets embedded with insecticides such as permethrin.
- Herbal or natural insect repellant remedies including the use of Vitamin B, Citronella Oil or Garlic are not recommended as they are not proven to work.
In addition to avoiding mosquito bites, the risk of malarial infection may be reduced by using antimalarial medication. Use of antimalarials can reduce the risk of malaria by up to 90%. There are different types of antimalarial tablets, including:
- Atovaquone/Proguanil (Malarone)
- Mefloquine (Lariam)
- Chloroquine/Proguanil (Avoclor/Paludrine)
Antimalarials vary in their effectiveness, dosages and side effect profile. In addition the medications differ in their resistance levels across the world, with some antimalarials being more effective in some parts of the world compared to others.