People living in malaria-prone regions gradually build up some immunity to the disease because they are continuously exposed to it. If you do not usually live in a malaria-prone region, it is even more important to take steps to prevent the disease.
You can prevent malaria by following the A-B-C-D of malaria prevention.
A: Awareness of risk – be aware of what malaria is and how you can be infected (just like you are learning now, and share with friends and family)
B: Bite avoidance – take steps to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, especially between dusk and dawn.
C: Check – if you need malaria prevention tablets (especially if you live outside malaria-prone regions)
D: Diagnosis – see a doctor straight away if you have any symptoms while you are abroad or for a year after you are back.
The key to preventing malaria is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. To ensure that you should:
- Use an insecticide mosquito net over your bed at night. That is a net that has been treated with chemicals that kill mosquitoes. They are safe for humans. Make sure it’s tucked in under the mattress and that there are no holes in it.
- Mosquito nets come in various shapes and colors. They all do a good job as long as they are tucked in well. It is even better if they are treated with insecticide.
- Spray your room often with an insecticide before you go to bed.
- Wear loose-fitting tops with long sleeves, trousers, and socks if you’re out at dusk or night. You can also wear clothes that have insect repellent already in them. Light color clothing is better because of the mosquitoes like dark areas.
- Apply a reliable insect repellent containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) to your skin and clothes. Your local pharmacy can advise on a good one.
- Cover bedroom doors and windows with fine mesh netting.
- Use air-conditioning or a fan in your room, as mosquitoes are less active in cooler temperatures.
IMPORTANT: Mosquitoes thrive very well in humid, hot corners. This means an environment with constantly wet grass, collected water in cans (rubbish), puddles and stagnant water, etc will provide egg-laying conditions and breed more mosquitoes. Keep doors and windows clear of things that mosquitoes can hide in. This way they cannot easily get into rooms to bite you.
TIP: These days there are insecticidal curtains that hang in doorways and can kill mosquitoes even before they get into your room