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Malaria Prescriptions and Traveling
Posted: Dec 29th, 2016 at 12:00AM
Malaria is one of the world's leading lethal diseases, and it causes a tremendous amount of problems for travelers and natives of the areas that are at high risk for it worldwide. We offer medications which can be prescribed for those who travel in areas where the disease is prominent and they can help offer you protection against this dangerous disease.
The primary vector of malaria is female mosquitos. Many people do not realize that only the females of these species of winged insects bite, but when they do they can spread diseases at a rapid rate due to their high metabolism and nearly omnipresent nature in many parts of the world.
Many things are used all over the world to offer protection including mosquito webbing, insect sprays, and sprays with insecticides. These methods have been ineffective at completely controlling the disease, however.
There have also been some experiments with the genetic engineering of mosquitos, including the release of mosquitos which can only produce sterile offspring in the hopes that it will eventually be able to stamp out the threat. It hasn't done so yet, but it's one of the most promising ventures in preventative medicine that's been pushed into action to date.
Malaria currently has no approved vaccination, although many are hard at work on it. An experimental vaccine is currently being field-tested since 2015 and shows some promise, but it isn't available outside of the controlled experiments at this time.
Unlike bacterial or viral infections it's possible to be infected with the parasite multiple times, an individual does not gain immunity to it after they have lived through it the first time. This makes it a threat even to those native to the area and has inspired a number of prevention measures around the globe.
"Immunity" can occur naturally in individuals, but it seems to be the effect of repeated exposure over the course of years, rather than less invasive diseases which a person is often completely immune to after their first infection. The cause isn't bacterial or viral in this instance and instead originates from parasites in the Plasmodium type. The chances of an infected person surviving vary greatly depending on the country that the infection occurs in, some of this is due to the medical care available and in other cases, it has to do with the medication resistance of the strain endemic to the area.
In a symptomatic case of malaria the disease will be most likely to show up between a week and four weeks after the initial exposure has occurred. The presentation will have most of the following symptoms:
- Joint Pain
The classic symptom is a terrifying form of fever called paroxysm. When this symptom presents the individual will flash between being very cold and hot and sweating. These will occur on a fairly regular basis and the time span between the repeated fevers will vary depending on the strain of malaria which the individual is infected with.
The disease can cause severe, sometimes lethal, complications including organ failure. Most severe cases are caused by one particular strain of the parasite, and close medical attention will have to be paid to the infected individual in order to prevent death.
Death from the disease isn't very common in some places, but even a short bout of malaria will be an unpleasant, dangerous experience.
Malaria in pregnant women also has its own set of complications which can result in the death of the incubating child and abnormalities in their development.
Malaria can also be recurring in an infected individual for some time. Most often the disease will strike again between eight and 24 weeks. Some people may develop immunity after repeated bouts of the disease, but not all will and medical attention is necessary to clear the disease from the body.
There are several different types of malaria medications which are available, and it's important to work with a travel doctor in order to determine which ones you'll need. Our doctors are experts in this matter and we'll be able to help make sure that you have the maximum amount of protection from this terrifying parasite while you're traveling.
The important thing is to have your travel schedule in hand when you come in and to know how long you'll be in the infected area. Your past medical history will also play a role in determining which medication you'll be receiving during your trip.
You'll be given prescriptions for prior to, during, and after the trip itself in order to make sure that all bases are covered. Malaria is nothing to play loose with, so make sure that you follow all of your doctor's instructions in the matter.
Since we have doctors specialized in travel medicine, you'll also be able to receive any vaccinations you might need while you're here. For trips to Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America the CDC recommends both vaccinations and prescriptions in order to make sure that you're safe and protected during your travel.
It's important to remember that even if you're just stopping off in an area with a high risk for malaria, you can still contract the disease. A single mosquito bite can land you with the fever and ruin your travels or even leave you ill when you return depending on the length of your trip.
Malaria is preventable even if you can't be rendered immune to it with vaccination, so take care of yourself and check in with one of our certified travel doctors to keep all of your bases covered.
Malaria is a killer. Make no doubt about that, but you can prevent yourself from contracting it while you're traveling if you make the right decision and check in with a doctor. It might seem like an unnecessary precaution, but if you're on the fence read about the disease a little bit and you'll realize the dangers that can be presented from a single mosquito bite.
Your safety on your journey is our concern, make an appointment today and we'll make sure you're in good hands.
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