Malaria: start your consultation
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Malaria is a well-known disease, spread by the bite of a mosquito in predominantly tropical and subtropical regions. It poses one of the biggest risks to people travelling abroad, with approximately 1,500 Brits contracting it annually.
There are preventative medications, such as Malarone and Doxycycline, that are proven to safeguard travellers in malaria-endemic areas. These are available to purchase from HealthExpress, once an online consultation has been completed and approved.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal tropical blood-disease caused by a parasite called plasmodium that is transferred by the anopheles mosquito. Malaria is most commonly contracted through a mosquito bite when visiting foreign, tropical countries.
When a person is bitten by a mosquito, the malaria parasite enters the bloodstream and quickly migrates to the liver. There it multiplies, before being released throughout the body.
At this point, the parasite begins invading red blood cells, multiplying within them until they burst- this in turn accelerates the process. This does not take a long time to occur and usually results in the symptoms associated with malaria such as a heavy fever, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Malaria was first discovered as a harmful blood parasite in 1880. Caused by the parasite 'plasmodium', a small, single-cell organism, it is spread to humans via the bite of infected mosquitos.
There are over 100 varieties of plasmodium parasites, but only five are identified to commonly infect humans and have various effects on the carrier.
The first sign of malaria is usually a flu-like fever, and the incubation period (the time of infection until the appearance of symptoms) for each strain generally differs:
During the early stages symptoms that can be experienced are very similar to that of severe influenza.
Because of the loss of red blood cells, malaria can also lead to jaundice and anaemia, however the vast majority of sufferers are treated before this stage. Certain cases have also reported back pain and an enlarged spleen.
The plasmodium falciparum, being the most dangerous of the malaria parasites, can potentially cause more severe symptoms; for example, kidney failure, seizures, reduced mental capacity and coma.
Malaria is most common in hot and humid climates, where the anopheles mosquito lives and thrives. Hotspots in the world where there is a high risk of malaria include:
The fatal plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite is more prevalent in Africa, but is also found in Latin America, Asia and Oceania.
There are a number of basic steps you should take when attempting to prevent malaria.
While taking simple precautions is important, the most successful way to prevent infection is with malaria tablets. There currently isn't a vaccine available to prevent malaria; therefore prescription medication is the best option. Malaria tablets work by preventing the parasites' ability to reproduce, allowing your body to neutralise the infection.
All antimalarial drugs need to be started before you leave for your destination, and also need to be taken for a short period after you return. Malaria can sometimes take 10 - 15 days to cause symptoms after the infection. In rare cases, it can lie dormant for more than a year, although fortunately the most dangerous strain is not known to do this.
Which treatment you need will depend largely on where you are travelling. For lower risk areas such as India, a treatment of Paludrine & Avloclor is recommended. For higher risk areas, either Doxycycline or Malarone can be prescribed. Both of these treatments are considered to be effective against the most dangerous form of the virus.
Malaria has the potential to be very serious, as it is regarded as the most dangerous disease on the planet, therefore prophylactic treatment is important if you are travelling to an area where malaria is a risk. Beginning a course of medication before travelling can easily prevent malaria. The antimalarials we have available, which are approved by UK qualified doctors, are Doxycycline and Malarone. These Malaria treatments are clinically proven to effectively prevent Malaria and can be ordered quickly and securely online by completing our free, simple online consultation. These treatments can be shipped by free next day delivery to ensure that you receive your medication before beginning your travels.