Learning About Preventing Malaria

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Life cycle of malaria parasites

What is malaria?

Malaria is a disease that causes a high fever, chills, and muscle pain. You can get it from a bite from an infected mosquito. Malaria is very rare in the North America. It's most often found in Africa, Southern Asia, Central America, and South America.

Symptoms tend to come and go in cycles. Malaria may also cause more serious problems. These include damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, or brain. It can even be deadly. But you can do a lot to prevent this infection.

What can you do to prevent malaria?

  • Avoid going to areas where malaria is common. This is strongly advised for young children and pregnant women.
  • Prevent mosquito bites when you go to areas where malaria is common.
    • After dark, stay indoors in a screened or air-conditioned room.
    • Wear protective clothing. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
    • Use an insect repellent with 10% to 30% DEET. This will provide good protection against mosquito bites. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • Use bed nets (mosquito netting) sprayed with or soaked in permethrin or deltamethrin. These chemicals repel or kill mosquitoes.
    • Use flying-insect spray indoors around sleeping areas.
  • Take medicine to prevent malaria.
    • Start taking the medicine before you leave on your trip. Keep taking it while you travel. When you get back home, keep taking the medicine for as long as your doctor tells you to.
    • Take the recommended dose exactly as prescribed and for the length of time required.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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