Malaria, mosquitoes and how to avoid them

Wednesday 14, July 2010


Malaria, mosquitoes and how to avoid them


As Cheryl Cole cancels lucrative commitments including The X Factor, to battle a bout of malaria believed to be contracted on a recent trip to Tanzania, Skyscanner offers up its anti-malaria advice.


What is Malaria?

Malaria is an infection of the blood cells caused by a parasite called a protozoa, which is carried by some mosquitoes which spread the infection when they bite. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including parts of the Americas, Africa and Asia. The main symptoms are: fever, sweating, shivers and exhaustion. In severe cases, malaria can lead to death, but the good news is that it is both preventable and curable.


How to Prevent Mosquito Bites and Malaria

1. At least six weeks before you travel to a potential malaria zone, visit your healthcare professional who can advise the best type of anti-malaria drugs which can help prevent the disease


2. During your travels, reduce the chances of getting bitten by mosquitoes using insect repellent (ideally containing up to 50% DEET) and mosquito netting when sleeping


3. When outside, cover arms and legs, although be warned, the mossie's long snout can penetrate loosely woven clothing. Burning mosquito coils or using plug-in vapour deterrents will also help repel the little critters


4. Before you go to bed, ensure windows are shut and do a thorough check of the walls and ceiling, slaughtering any mossies you find, mercilessly.


Bug Free Holidays; places with few biting insects:

If you'd prefer not to give blood to bugs, creepy crawlies and other biting insects, where can you go on holiday to avoid them? Well, unfortunately, very few places in the world are completely free of such pests, but here a few suggestions where you can largely avoid being eaten alive.


1. City Breaks - although not completely devoid of insect life, you'll generally find that most dense urban areas are less prone to plagues of ticks, midges or mosquitoes than rural zones.


2. Head High - the ‘mosquito line’ is the altitude above which mosquitoes don't live, so the higher you go, the further you get away from biting insects. Therefore anywhere high in the Alps, Pyrenees, Rockies, Andes etc should have a low pest count.


3. Go to the snow - you never hear skiers or snowboarders complaining of mosquito bites or midge attacks, so wait until winter and you can pretty much guarantee an insect free holiday.


4. Scuba dive - you won't find biting insects under sea, so coral reefs provide a bug free zone. Unfortunately, you'll have to come up for air eventually, and don't forget that there exists other things that can bite you under the ocean which may be of greater concern.


5. Antarctica - although Antarctica's largest true terrestrial animal is the wingless midge (which is a whopping 6mm long) it lives among penguin colonies and is unlikely to trouble polar visitors.


6. Space - the final frontier is still insect free, though as soon as we get our first moon colony up and running, insects are likely to find their way up there too. However, space doesn't come cheap; the Russians will take you to the International Space Station for around £15million and we're still waiting for Virgin Galactic, the "world's first space line" to launch, though they are taking bookings; tickets start at $200,000 . So unless you're a millionaire, you may just want to settle for a bottle of insect repellent after all.


7. Become a 'Bubble Boy' - buy a bubble suit and spend your holiday inside it, therefore avoiding any possible contact with the insect world.



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