The rise in cases of malaria in South Africa makes it important to take precautions when travelling through this beautiful country of ours…
From turquoise beaches to the breathtaking Drakensberg mountain range, South Africa has many picturesque destinations. However, with the rise in malaria cases in the last few months, it is important for travellers to take precautions.
“The prevalence of malaria has ordinarily been very low in South Africa. As such, most South Africans believe that the disease isn’t something that would affect them. Little do they know that malaria still presents a significant danger, especially when travelling to endemic areas,” says Sherwin Charles, Co-Founder, and CEO of Goodbye Malaria.
Despite advancements in treatment, malaria remains a killer, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016 alone, malaria caused the deaths of 445 000 people worldwide, with 80% of these deaths accounted for in 15 countries, all of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, save India.
In 2016, malaria caused the deaths of 445 000 people worldwide
Common symptoms of malaria include:
- Constant headaches
- Muscle pains
- Sudden shifts between chills and fevers
“What makes malaria so dangerous is that it is often misdiagnosed as the flu, as they share many common symptoms. People will then just dismiss their symptoms as the easily treated flu and won’t seek medical attention. However, if left untreated, malaria could have severe repercussions for your health – even life-threatening. It is imperative that if you start to experience any of these symptoms you must immediately seek professional medical advice” says Charles.
How to protect yourself
Goodbye Malaria recommends following these precautions to protect you and your family from malaria:
- Since malaria symptoms usually only appear up to 15 days after infection, effective treatment at this stage does become difficult. If you are travelling this summer, the safest option is to use prophylaxis.
- Consult with your healthcare professional who will prescribe the most appropriate anti-malarial courses based on your medical history, and the specifics of your travel itinerary.
- Take the prescribed anti-malaria medication before, during and after your travels in order to completely safeguard yourself against infection.
- Research on your holiday destination and find out whether there have been recent cases of malaria infections. If malaria is prevalent at the destination you plan on visiting, be especially vigilant and use precautions such as mosquito nets, mosquito repellent and protective clothing.
“Malaria is totally preventable and treatable, but we all need to do our part to ensure that we are looking out for our health and well-being. Being aware and understanding your environment and any potential symptoms goes a long way to ensuring your well-being. Let’s say ‘Goodbye Malaria’, by starting with prevention.” concludes Charles.
Source: Goodbye Malaria
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