How to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes when travelling to Africa this summer
With the summer holidays comes rain. The flourishing cycle of life brings with it many blessings, but on the flip side, it brings millions of malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Sherwin Charles, co-founder of Goodbye Malaria said that travellers need to take the necessary precautions when they travel.
Goodbye Malaria tackles the scourge in southern Africa collaborating with world-class partners, including the Global Fund, private organisations, and the governments of Mozambique, South Africa and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) to eradicate the disease.
Goodbye Malaria does most of its work in Mozambique, which is a high transmission country being in top five malaria highest-burden countries. Malaria in Mozambique affects low-transmission countries, including South Africa and Eswatini.
“If you’re out and about across the African continent during the rainy season you need to be aware that mosquitoes and rain are the best of friends.
“As the rains fall, millions of water pools are formed, and mosquitoes like to breed in small pools of water. The more rain, the more breeding grounds for mosquito larvae.
“Whether it is potholes, old tyres, a leaf, or a plastic cup left outside, a clutch of mosquito eggs does not require much to hatch. Mosquito larvae can survive just fine in 1cm of stagnant water,” said Charles.
The malarial parasite also matures more quickly at warmer temperatures, making certain parts of Africa a prime spot for malaria to set up shop.
Charles said travellers should prepare when travelling to areas like Mozambique, or the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
“Malaria should not deter you from exploring this beautiful continent. There are plenty of ways to defend yourself against mosquitoes,” he said.
Here are some tips:
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
- Close windows and doors at night unless they are screened.
- Spray an aerosol insecticide inside the sleeping area.
- Burn mosquito coils and mosquito mats in sleeping areas.
- Sleep under a mosquito-proof bed-net.
- Wear long-sleeved clothing, trousers and socks if outdoors during this time.
- In high-risk areas, the use of anti-malaria drugs is recommended from October to May.
- Always consult with your local GP when travelling to a malaria area.