Are you planning on traveling soon? Do you happen to be travelling to a country where Malaria is common? In this article we take a look at Malaria, as well as the medications used for the prevention and treatment of Malaria.
Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1,700 cases of malaria are reported and diagnosed in the United States every year. In most cases it is reported in travelers who have left home well, but returned sick.
The highest risk comes from countries that are in the sub-Saharan Africa regions, though traveling to any country where malaria is reported is still risky. Something as simple as a mosquito bite while traveling in a country that is reported to have Malaria be enough put you at risk.
What can you do before you leave for your trip? Visit the Malaria Information by Country Table on the CDC website when you are planning your trip. This will give you focused details about parts of different countries where malaria may or may not occur, as well as the type of malaria, if drug resistance is present, and a list of the medicines the CDC recommends for prevention of malaria in each area it occurs on the Malaria map. The CDC also recommends that pregnant women avoid traveling to Malaria-endemic areas, as Malaria can cause harm to both the mother and the fetus.
Symptoms of Malaria may include fevers, sweating, shivering, body aches, headaches, and other flu-like symptoms. At the first sign of any of these symptoms treatment should be started as soon as possible, as infection can be very severe and sometimes fatal.
One of the medications often recommended for travelers is Malarone (or its generic form Atovaquone/Proguanil). The two active ingredients in Malarone are Atovaquone and Proguanil, which work together to prevent and treat malaria by killing the parasite that causes Malaria, P. falciparum. Malarone comes in a tablet form (250mg Atovaquone/100mg Proguanil) per tablet.
For Malaria Prevention
Adult dose: One Malarone tablet (adult strength) per day.
Pediatric dose: Each dose for Malaria Pediatric prevention is based upon body weight. (1 pediatric tablet contains 62.5 mg Atovaquone/25mg Proguanil).
For prevention of Malaria in adults, your doctor will prescribe one tablet daily, usually a couple of days before entering an area where malaria may be present. You will need to take the Malarone for an additional 7 days after leaving the area.
For Malaria Treatment
For treatment of Malaria in adults, your doctor will usually prescribe 4 tablets per day for 3 days.
For treatment of Malaria in children, doctors will prescribe the Malarone dosage required by the weight of the child.
It’s important to take the pill whole with fluid, but should swallowing be difficult, it can be crushed and mixed with condensed milk. The medication should be taken with food or some form of milky drink daily, and at the same time each day if possible. If vomiting occurs or any other issues, it’s important to speak with your doctor and/or pharmacist. Never double your dose if you miss a dose of Malarone. As with most medications, Malarone does have some side effects such as dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. If you’re concerned about any possible side effects, discuss them with your pharmacist.
Protecting Yourself from Mosquito Bites
One of the best things you can do to prevent contracting Malaria is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
- While warm weather may mean short sleeves and shorts are tempting, you may be putting yourself at risk. Wearing long sleeves and long pants is one of the best ways to protect yourself.
- Wear a hat. Mosquitoes can bite your scalp, even if you have a full head of hair.
- Spray yourself with insect repellent, even under your clothes, as mosquitoes can bite through thin cotton.
- If you go swimming, re-apply your insect repellent when you come out.
- Spray insect repellent in your room.
- Sleep with a mesh screen tent over your bed. You can purchase mosquito nets for this purpose at most camping equipment outlets.
It’s unfortunate that certain infections and diseases are of concern when traveling to explore the world or when traveling for business, but the truth is it is a fact of life and one you need to be prepared for. As always, if you have questions about Malarone or other medications or interactions with your other medications, speak to your pharmacist or talk to one of our friendly team here at Canada Online Health by simply calling us Toll Free at 1-800-399-DRUG (3784).