Malaria - How can it be prevented?

The best malaria prevention is to avoid being bitten by a mosquito AND taking anti-malaria medicines.  It should be remembered that no anti-malaria medicine is 100% effective which is why avoiding being bitten is also important.1

Being aware of the countries that have malaria will help you prepare for your trip and take safety measures when visiting these locations.

Non-pharmaceutical prevention

The most effective way of preventing malaria is to not get bitten by the mosquito in the first place.1,2  Anopheles mosquitoes are more active between sunset and sunrise, which is when you need to cover-up bare areas of skin particularly the ankles and wrists.3  Wear long-sleeved, long-legged, loose-fitting clothing (light colour is better than dark); dark colours retain the body warmth and body gases that insects are attracted to.3

Use reliable insect repellents (preferably a product containing DEET).3  Icaridin is also an effective repellent and can be used as an alternative to DEET.1,3  Apply these as recommended by the manufacturer.  Sunscreen should be applied first before applying insect repellent.2  At night you should sleep under a mosquito net.2,3

Pharmaceutical prevention

There are a number of anti-malaria medicines available and they have different dosing schedules.  It is important that you take the medication as instructed.  You need to speak with your doctor or travel medicine specialist about which medicine is right for you.

One medicine is Malarone® which is a fixed combination of two medicines (atovaquone and proguanil) in one tablet and is used as both a preventative and a treatment for malaria.  If Malarone is used as a preventer it cannot be used as a treatment for malaria.  People travelling for some time may consider taking one pack of Malarone as a treatment pack as well as a different preventer medicine.2  The treatment pack should only be used if a diagnosis of malaria is confirmed by a doctor or clinic.  Talk to your doctor or travel medicine specialist if a treatment pack is right for you and how you should use it.

Malarone Junior can be used in children weighing over 11kg to protect them against malaria.  The tablets are taken once a day preferably with food or a milky drink.  If your child is unable to swallow tablets they can be crushed and sprinkled on food or mixed in a milky drink.4  Talk to your doctor or travel medicine specialist to see if Malarone Junior is right for your child.

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