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Prevent malaria

Prevent malaria
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Malaria is a deadly tropical disease carried by mosquitoes

World Malaria Day is April 25, 2019, and its theme is Zero malaria starts with me. As a Canadian you are not in too much danger from this deadly tropical fever. But travellers do contract malaria, and some of them get very sick indeed.

Where is malaria a danger?

The malaria map is notoriously complex and varies by season. The best thing to do is to give your travel health adviser your full itinerary and they will help you assess your risk of exposure to malaria. At Canadian Travel Clinics we offer double-length appointments for people going on multi-destination trips, so be sure to mention this when you make your appointment.

What help can you give me if I’m going to an area with a malaria risk?

If your itinerary includes a malarious area then our travel health nurses will recommend a course of anti-malarial tablets. Timing is everything with antimalarials: you may have to start taking them before you arrive at your destination and continue taking them after the end of your trip. But don’t worry: your travel health nurse will work it all out for you.

You should make your travel health appointment at least six weeks before you travel. This is because some antimalarials have side-effects and you may need to take a short course at home to check whether you are affected.

During your travel health appointments we will also give you advice on mosquito avoidance. This mosquito avoidance advice is crucial because unfortunately antimalarials are not 100 per cent effective. So, you need to back them up by avoiding bites in the first place.

How can travellers fight malaria?

As an ethical traveller you will want to support the communities you visit as they protect themselves from disease. So, if you are asked to close windows at night or to use mosquito nets, you should do so, even if it makes you uncomfortable. And don’t make loud complaints about mosquito fogging or spraying if you see that happening.

Take time to talk with your accommodation manager and tour company about what measures they take to prevent malaria, too. The hospitality industry is increasingly powerful and can put pressure on regional government to encourage change. And they will do that if they see that tourists are concerned about an issue.

And you should take your antimalarials as directed, too. This will prevent you from becoming ill and placing a burden a local health services. Also, if you catch malaria, there is a small chance that you might infect a mosquito with the parasite that causes malaria, and it could spread it to someone else.

Where can I get malaria prophylaxis?

Note that it is better to buy your anti-malarials in Canada, rather than at your destination. One reason is to avoid putting pressure on the local supply chain. Another reason is that Canada has some of the world’s most stringent medicine quality controls. So, when you buy malaria prophylaxis in Canada, you know you are getting exactly what it says on the packet, and exactly what your travel health nurse has recommended.

How do I make an appointment for travel vaccinations in Toronto?

Canadian Travel Clinics can offer same-day vaccinations at our travel clinics in Toronto. Make an appointment online right now.