Looking forward to summer holidays? Perhaps visiting friends and family? Remember to protect yourself and your family against malaria.
The Health Protection Agency Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention does not recommend relying on any herbal or homeopathic remedies for the prevention of malaria. Herbal remedies have not been tested for their ability to prevent or treat malaria and are not licensed for these uses. There is no scientific proof that homeopathic remedies are effective in either preventing or treating malaria. In addition, the Faculty of Homeopathy does not promote the use of homeopathic remedies for disease prevention and note that their use in malaria prevention is unlikely to be acceptable to insurance providers.
The medicine or medicines that should be taken to prevent malaria depend on the country or countries that will be visited during your trip. Anyone travelling to any country where malaria occurs should visit their GP or a travel clinic and should follow their advice on which medicines to take, the dose to take, and how long to take the medicines before travelling and after returning home.
Failure to take the right medicine or to take it at the right dose for long enough is the most common reason for people developing malaria after returning to the UK.
Please remember that even if you were born in an area where malaria is common, your immunity will fade within 6-12 months of living in the UK where you are not regularly exposed to malaria.
Malaria is acquired by being bitten by a mosquito that carries the disease. As well as taking the right medicine to prevent malaria, it is very important to do everything you can to prevent mosquito bites. In particular, you should try to avoid being bitten by night-biting mosquitoes by using bed nets and repellents such as those containing DEET or lemon eucalyptus (other eucalyptus products are not effective). Buzzers for repelling mosquitoes are not effective.
You should seek a doctor's advice immediately if you or your child becomes feverish and unwell while you are away.
Alert your doctor to the possibility of malaria if you suffer from flu-like symptoms for up to one year after your return to the UK from a malarious area.
The ACMP malaria prevention guidelines are also available for health professionals who are advising travellers.
Last reviewed: 3 February 2011