If your summer travel plans are taking you outside of the U.S. to a place where malaria is a concern, taking antimalarial medication is not just a good idea - it's essential.
You might think that you can avoid malaria just by staying clear of mosquitoes. Unfortunately, it's not that simple.
Travel medicine doctors have lots of stories about people who thought they'd be okay without antimalarial medication, but ended up getting sick. Some even had to be airlifted back home, or worse, didn't make it back at all. Don't let their mistakes become your own.
What is malaria?
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that's spread through mosquito bites. If you're unlucky enough to get bitten by an infected mosquito and catch this illness, you'll experience high fevers and shaking chills. These symptoms can progress to delirium, coma, and death. It's so severe that most people who contract malaria need to be hospitalized. Quite frankly, it might be the sickest you've ever been. Worse, some travelers who contract malaria don't survive.
Why do we emphasize this so much? It's because malaria isn't just a potential health risk—it's a life-threatening disease. But here's the good news: It's preventable with a course of medication during your travel. It's a small step that could literally save your life.
How do I know if I need antimalarial medication?
How can you tell if you need to take malaria medication? The answer is straightforward: If your travel plans include a visit to an area known for malaria, you need to consider taking antimalarial medication. The highest risk is in Africa, parts of Asia, and parts of South America. In some places, the risk is country-wide, while in others, it's limited to certain regions.
Before you take off, it's a smart idea to chat with a doctor about your travel plans. They can help assess your risk and determine whether you need malaria medication.
Here's the good part: when you order a Duration Health Med Kit, we include a pre-travel consultation with a physician as part of the package. This way, you can be sure you're taking the right steps to protect yourself.
Which medication should I take?
So, what medication should you take to prevent malaria? The general term for these drugs is "malaria chemoprophylaxis," but you can just call it "malaria prevention medication." These are prescription drugs, so you'll need a doctor's okay to get them.
One common and effective choice is a drug called Malarone (atovaquone-proguanil). It's suitable for most people and covers most malaria-prone regions of the world. It's a once-a-day pill, which we include in many of our Duration Health Med Kits designed for travelers heading to malaria-risk areas.
Here's an important detail: You need to start taking malaria prevention medication just before your trip starts, and keep taking it for a bit after you return home. In the case of Malarone, you should begin 1-2 days before you leave and continue for 7 days after you get back.
Remember, there are also other medications that can prevent or treat malaria in emergency situations. The right choice depends on you and your travel plans, so it's important to discuss your options with a doctor.
Build Your Med Kit
Duration Health Med Kits are tailor-made for your travel needs, and they include malaria medication whenever it's necessary. What's more, every kit comes with a consultation with a doctor. This way, you're getting professional advice and a personalized plan to help keep you healthy on your adventures.
This information is for your general knowledge and is not medical advice. Talk to a doctor, or call 911 if you have a medical emergency. Only your Duration Health provider can decide whether it is medically appropriate for you to receive prescriptions.