Living in or traveling to hot, humid climates where Anopheles mosquitoes are common is the most common risk factor for malaria. Africa, Asia, and Latin America all have areas where malaria is common.
Your chance of getting malaria increases dramatically if prevention steps are not taken.
There are no symptoms in the early stage of infection.
Symptoms usually begin within 10 days to 4 weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms may include:
- Recurrent fevers—as high as 106° F (41.1° C)
- Chills and sweats
- Muscles aches
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Yellow coloring of the eyes and skin— jaundice
- Dark or discolored urine
Seek medical care right away if you suspect malaria or if you have traveled to an area of the world where malaria occurs.
Prescription drugs are used to treat malaria by killing the parasites. The choice of an antimalarial agent depends on:
- Specific type of parasite
- Severity and stage of infection
- Area of the world you may have contracted malaria. Certain areas have types of malaria that are resistant to certain drugs.
Medications will also be given to reduce fever, which may shorten the infection time.
To reduce your chance of getting malaria when in a high-risk area:
- Visit with a travel clinic or your doctor before your trip. Review what preventive medications you may need.
- If required, take antimalarial medication before, during, and after travel. Follow your doctor's instructions.
- Use DEET insect repellent when outside. A higher percentage of DEET will protect your for a longer period of time.
- Use proper mosquito netting at night. Look for netting treated with insecticide.
- Do not rely on electronic mosquito repellents. These devices do not prevent mosquito bites.
- Wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
- Avoid being outdoors from dusk to dawn. This is when mosquitoes are most active.
- Stay in air-conditioned or screened rooms when possible.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
World Health Organization http://www.who.int
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
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