Key takeaways
Manage your risk of malaria properly by planning
your travels and checking the risk where you’re
going

Insect and mosquito repellents should be used
and should be applied after sunscreen
Stay covered up, make sure you’re behind screen
doors or windows at night, and always use bed
net treated with insecticide

If you need them, make sure you take
antimalarial tablets and you take them properly,
every day while you’re then and as directed
afterwards

Keep an eye out for malaria symptoms, such as
fever, and always discuss any symptoms you do
get with your doctor as soon as possible

1. Determine your level of risk
Inform yourself about your destination and the risk
for getting malaria. Things you should consider are:
The time of year you are travelling, the duration of
your stay, the activities you plan to do and where
you will be staying.

 The risk for an infection can
vary considerably, even within a single country.

Successful malaria prophylaxis depends on your
knowledge - make sure you are in the know about
malaria risk areas before you go.

2. Stay in well-screened areas
at night
Avoid sleeping outside or in the vicinity of areas
where mosquitoes like to live, e.g. standing water
(tyres, lakes, waste dumps). 

If you are sleeping in a
tent, make sure that there are no holes anywhere
and keep the door closed at all times. These may
be very basic rules, but they can significantly
increase the success of your malaria prevention
effort.

3. Always use a bed-net
impregnated with insecticides
Check that the net is not damaged and always
ensure it is properly tucked underneath your
mattress. The room itself should have additional
nets attached to the windows and doors. Keep the
air conditioning on, as mosquitoes tend to stay out
of cool, air-conditioned rooms.

4. Use mosquito repellent
Use an insect spray containing pyrethroids in all
living and sleeping areas, especially during evening
and nighttime hours.

5. Go for long sleeves
Wear long sleeve shirts and trousers in the evening
and at night. The less skin that is exposed, the
better. Additionally, you can treat your clothes with
permethrin in order to increase your protection.
6. Insect repellent again

Insect repellent creams or lotions should be applied
to any remaining exposed parts of the skin,
especially in the evening and during the night. It is
advisable to apply the repellent during the daytime
as well. You never know, a particular mosquito
might decide to bite you in broad daylight.

We recommend using repellents that contain DEET,
with at least 20% DEET concentration. The
protection from 20% DEET lasts for roughly 1 to 3
hours, and increases up to around 6 hours for 30%.
50% DEET last for approximately 12 hours.

7. Sunscreen comes first -
repellent second
If you’re using sunscreen and repellent at the same
time, sunscreen should be applied first and the
insect repellent second.

Because DEET can make sunscreen less effective, at
least 30 to 50 SPF sunscreen is recommended.
At night you still need to use repellant, but
sunscreen isn’t needed from dusk to dawn.

8. Check the malaria risks - Get
an antimalarial (if necessary)
Depending on the overall malaria risk at your
destination, it might be necessary to take malaria
chemoprophylaxis (anti-malarial medication), either
on a daily or a weekly basis to prevent malaria.

Consult with a travel clinic, healthcare provider or an
online doctor service like ours well before your
departure to discuss your specific preventive needs.
Depending on the medication you use, you will have
to start taking the medication up to two weeks
before entering the risk area. 

In areas of
intermediate risk, it might be sufficient to carry a
treatment course with you as a stand-by
medication. You would only start taking the
medication if you experience any flu-like symptoms
during your journey.

9. Follow your prescription
carefully
If you need antimalarial medication, don’t forget to
take it every day during your trip (or as advised)
and do not stop taking it too early after your return.
Depending on the medication, it could have to be
continued for 4 weeks after you leave the malaria-
affected area.

10. Be on the safe side
If you experience any flu-like symptoms within 1
year after your return, always inform any doctor
treating you about the journey and the areas you
have been to. Although an infection with malaria
usually causes symptoms within 1 or two weeks, it
could take a lot longer (up to a year) for the
disease to break out.
 Even if you have done
everything right, there always remains a small risk
of getting malaria.

Looking for malaria tablets before you take off? You
can order your prescription online from Zava and our
London-based GMC-regulated doctors will dispatch
your malaria tablets if it’s right for you.
And finally: Enjoy your trip!

Malaria guidelines
Malaria guidelines are regularly updated and
countries receive new risk ratings for malaria. As a
result, some of the malaria risk advice on our site
may be out of date. Before starting your
assessment for malaria treatment, please check up
to date guidance on the malaria risk in the country
you’re travelling to.

Neither the content on our website, nor our online
assessment for malaria treatment are intended as a
substitute for a full travel consultation. It is
important you discuss all precautions recommended
for your trip with your GP or travel specialist - for
example you may need vaccines too.