​Protect yourself from malaria if you are going overseas

 If you are planning to visit a country where malaria is found, you should seek advice about protecting yourself from infection four to six weeks before you go.

Malaria can be very serious and is found in many African countries, as well as Southern Asia, Central America, and South America.

You will not be immune to malaria if you have previously visited or lived in the country you plan to visit. You need to protect yourself every time you visit a country where there is malaria. If you get ill while you are away, get medical advice straight away. It is important that malaria is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Anti malarial medicines

There is no vaccination against malaria, so it's very important to take anti-malarial medicines. These reduce your risk of getting malaria by about 90%. They should be taken before you travel, while you are away and for up to four weeks after you come back.

There are many different types of anti-malarial medicines. In Southwark, they are available either over the counter from a pharmacist or through private prescription from a GP. GPs do not give anti-malarial medicines on NHS prescription. Your GP will advise you on what anti-malarial medicine would be best for you and what the side effects may be, and they can give you a private prescription if required, so you can get your medicines from a high street pharmacy.

The NHS recommends that you get your medicines in the UK before you travel, as medicines abroad may be fake or sub-standard.

Preventing mosquito bites

You can also protect yourself from malaria by preventing mosquito bites. Sleep under a mosquito net, use insect repellent on your skin and wear long trousers and sleeves to keep yourself covered, particularly during early evening and at night.

Further information

Read the CCG's leaflet on protecting yourself from malaria - Protect yourself against malaria leaflet.pdf

The NHS Choices website has further information.