If you are traveling to a High Risk Country – You will need to Visit your local Sedem Pharmacy 6 to 8 weeks before you travel to order your Anti Malaria Medication (You will need to obtain a private prescription and follow the instructions).
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal, tropical disease spread by mosquito bites.
The World Health Organisation estimates 3.3 billion people (half the world’s population) are at risk from malaria, with approximately 250 million cases and nearly one million deaths eve Malaria is caused by a parasite that is passed from one human to another by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes.
After infection, the parasites (called sporozoites) travel through the bloodstream to the liver, where they mature and release another form, the merozoites. The parasites enter the bloodstream and infect red blood cells. The parasites multiply inside the red blood cells, which then break open within 48 to 72 hours, infecting more red blood cells. The first symptoms usually occur 10 to 28 days after infection, though they can appear as early as 8 days or as long as a year after infection. The symptoms occur in cycles of 48 to 72 hours.
Malaria can also be transmitted from a mother to her unborn baby (congenitally) and by blood transfusions.Malaria can be carried by mosquitoes in temperate climates, but the parasite disappears over the winter.
Where is malaria found?
Malaria is found in more than 100 countries, including large areas of Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), parts of the Middle and Far East and some Pacific Ocean Islands.Malaria risk areas worldwide 2009.
Malaria is found in more than 100 countries, mainly in tropical regions of the world including:
- Large areas of Africa and Asia
- Central and South America
- Haiti and the Dominican Republic
- Parts of the Middle East
- Some Pacific islands, such as Papua New Guinea
What are the symptoms of Malaria?
Fever (high temperature), muscle aches, chills and sweating.
Cough, headache and diarrhoea.
Seizures (fits) and loss of consciousness with severe illness from falciparum malaria.
Babies and children may have difficulty sitting or standing and can develop problems breathing.
Malaria is a medical emergency as Falciparum parasites can cause sudden, life-threatening illness. Severe complications include:
- blood clotting problems
- fluid in your lungs
- kidney failure
- internal bleeding
- coma (called cerebral malaria)
- Fatal complications can appear rapidly.
Can Malaria be treated?
Yes, if diagnosed quickly and if the correct treatment is given immediately. There is a risk of rapid death, so people with suspected malaria are usually admitted to hospital and given drugs directly into their veins via a drip. Malaria carries a risk of serious illness, disability and death. Even if you make a full recovery, it can take a long time to get back to normal.
If you have any symptoms (usually fever), either while you are away or once you return home, you must get immediate medical help.
This is extremely important, even if you took the right malaria tablets, tried to avoid getting bitten, and have been back in the UK for a while.
An urgent malaria test must be arranged by your GP, Accident and Emergency doctor or Tropical/Infectious Diseases clinic.
Your doctor will send a sample of your blood to a laboratory, where a microscope is usually used to check for malaria parasites in the blood. If any are found, you must start immediate treatment, so results should be available the same day blood was taken.
How can I prevent getting Malaria?
Avoiding malaria involves several steps, known as the ‘ABCD’ of malaria prevention:
Sedem Pharmacy Can Provide Your Anti Malaria Medication
- Awareness of risk – find out if your trip will take you to a malaria risk area. You can check by looking at NaTHNaC’s Country Information Pages. Then get advice from your GP or travel clinic as soon possible.
- Bite avoidance – Apply insect repellant frequently, wear long-sleeved shirts/long trousers and sleep under an intact mosquito net (you can buy nets pre-dipped in insecticide) if you are not in enclosed, air conditioned accommodation.
- Check – if you need malaria prevention tablets. If you do, make sure you take the correct tablets, as recommended (daily or weekly) and FINISH the course.
- Diagnosis – see a doctor IMMEDIATELY if you have any symptoms (often fever), either while abroad or for a year after you return. Tell the doctor you have been at risk.
- Nothing guarantees 100% protection against malaria – it is important to protect yourself and your family as much as possible, but if you have any symptoms, see a doctor.
Anti Malarial Medicines
There are 3 types of Anti Malaria Medication:
- Doxycycline Malaria Tablet
- Doxycycline is an antibiotic also used to treat other infections and sometimes acne. Doxycycline is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under 12 (because of the risk of permanent tooth discolouration), people who are sensitive to tetracycline antibiotics or people with liver problems.
- Doxycycline can cause the skin to be hypersensitive to the sun so special care should be taken to avoid sunburn by covering up or using high factor sun creams in strong sunlight.
Doxycycline will not normally interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills unless it causes diarrhoea or vomiting.
How to Use Doxycycline
The usual dose of is 100mg daily. You should start the tablets two days before you travel, and take them all the time you are in a risk region and for four weeks after you return.
Doxycycline Side Effects
Doxycycline should only be taken if prescribed by a registered doctor.
Like all medicines Doxycycline can have unwanted side effects, although not everyone will experience these. Possible side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dysphagia, and oesophageal irritation. Other rare side-effects include hepatotoxicity, pancreatitis, blood disorders, photosensitivity, hypersensitivity reactions (including rash, exfoliative dermatitis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, urticaria, angioedema, anaphylaxis, pericarditis), anorexia, dry mouth, flushing, anxiety, and tinnitus. Headache and visual disturbances are also possible. Please consult the full list of Doxycycline side effects on the patient information leaflet provided with your treatment.
Lariam (mefloquine) Malaria Tablet
Lariam is not recommended if you have epilepsy, seizures, depression or psychiatric problems, or if a close relative has any of these conditions. It is not usually recommended for people with severe heart or liver problems. If you are planning to take Lariam and have not taken it before it is recommended that you take a three week trial before you travel to determine if you will experience any side effects that you cannot tolerate.
How to Use Lariam (mefloquine)
The usual adult dose of Lariam is one tablet weekly. Child dosage is also once a week but the amount will depend on the child’s weight. It should be started three weeks before you travel and taken all the time you are in the risk region and for four weeks after you return.
Lariam (mefloquine) Side Effects
Lariam should only be taken if prescribed by a registered doctor. Lariam should not be taken by people with severe liver disease, people with a history of psychiatric disturbances, including depression or convulsions as it can make these things worse. Lariam should not be taken if you are pregnant or could become pregnant within 3 months and effective contraception should be used for 3 months after taking Lariam.
Like all medicines Lariam can have unwanted side effects, although not everyone will experience them. Possible side effects are nausea, vomiting, dyspepsia, abdominal pain, diarrhoea; headache, dizziness, sleep disturbances; less frequently anorexia, bradycardia, fatigue, abnormal dreams, fever, tinnitus, and neuropsychiatric reactions (including sensory and motor neuropathies, tremor, ataxia, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, agitation, hallucinations, psychosis, convulsions); rarely suicidal ideation; very rarely pneumonitis; also reported, circulatory disorders (including hypotension and hypertension), chest pain, tachycardia, palpitation, cardiac conduction disorders, oedema, dyspnoea, encephalopathy, leucopenia, leucocytosis, thrombocytopenia, muscle weakness, myalgia, arthralgia, visual disturbances, vestibular disorders, rash (including Stevens-Johnson syndrome), pruritus, and alopecia. Please consult the full list of Lariam side effects on the patient information leaflet provided with your treatment.
Details of this can also be:
- Malarone Malaria Tablet (atovaquone plus proguanil)
- Malarone is not suitable if you have severe kidney disease or for pregnant or breast feeding women.
How to Use Malarone
The adult dose is one adult-strength tablet a day. Child dosage is also once a day, but the amount depends on the child’s weight. Malarone should be started one or two days before you travel, taken all the time that you are in a risk area and for seven days after you return.
Malarone Side Effects
Malarone should only be taken if prescribed by a registered doctor. Malarone should not be taken by people with severe kidney disease or pregnant or breast feeding women.
Like all medicines Malarone can have unwanted side effects, although not everyone will experience them. Possible side effects are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea; cough; headache, dizziness, insomnia, abnormal dreams, depression, anorexia, fever; rash, pruritus; less frequently stomatitis, palpitation, anxiety, blood disorders, hyponatraemia, and hair loss; also reported, hepatitis, cholestasis, tachycardia, hallucinations, seizures, vasculitis, mouth ulcers, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Please consult the full list of Malarone side effects on the patient information leaflet provided with your treatment.
You will need to visit your local Travel Clinic 6-8 weeks before you travel to obtain a private prescription for your medication or visit your GP.
You can either take your prescription to any of our Sedem Pharmacies to obtain your medication. Our Qualified Pharmacist will advise you on the length and dosage of medication that you will need.