Preventing malaria

I am worried about the dreadful malarial bite. Please advise.

Q: When I think of monsoon, I am worried about the dreadful malarial bite. Please advise.

A: Malaria is commonplace during monsoon; it is a serious and sometimes fatal disease. There is no vaccination available against malaria. However, you can protect yourself by avoidance of bites, if possible, at home and outside — or, when you travel to other destinations. This is because mosquitoes cause just as much inconvenience owing to local reactions to the bites themselves, and from the infections they transmit. They can bite at any time of day. However, most bites occur in the evening/night.

  • Avoid mosquito bites, especially after sunset. It’s best to wear long-sleeved clothing and long trousers at night
  • Mosquitoes often bite through thin clothing. You may spray/apply a repellent on your clothing, and, of course, on exposed skin
  • Repellents may be sprayed in the room, or you can use mats/liquid
  • When you sleep in an unscreened room, or outdoors, the ideal thing to do is to use a mosquito net. There are easy-to-carry, lightweight nets available
  • Contrary to popular belief, garlic, vitamin B and ultrasound devices, do not prevent bites. On the other hand, experts say neem oil is useful to repel mosquitoes. Apply neem oil on your used mats, and use.

Also —

  • Consult your physician/therapist, the moment you feel ill
  • If you intend to travel, take anti-malarial tablets, three weeks before departure. You ought to take tablets regularly, preferably during, or after, a meal, especially in malaria-prone areas.
  • Experts advise that you should continue to taking tablets for four weeks after you have returned from your trip. This is suggested to cover the incubation period of the disease.

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