By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute
Malaria is one of the worlds’ most serious illnesses. It is estimated that, internationally, 2.1 million people die from malaria every year.
The most significant areas where malaria is found is Africa, the East and South America, however, malaria is also found other individual places. Malaria is transferred through mosquito bites.
If you travel to areas with malaria, the child must be protected from mosquitos, undergo preventive treatment with tablets and examined by a doctor if you suspect malaria.
When staying in areas with malaria, it is important to protect yourself from the mosquito that transfers malaria. The mosquito only bites after dark or in dark rooms. You must apply mosquito repellent and use mosquito nets.
When travelling to areas with malaria there are different kinds of preventive medication. Children are receptive to malaria and preventive treatment is therefore necessary from birth. Consult with your doctor about what medication is recommended for the area you are travelling to.
If you suspect malaria, the child must be examined by a doctor, immediately. The preventive medication is not sufficient, if the child develops malaria. Then you must administer a different dosage or supplement with a different medication. The most important symptom of malaria is fever. However, the symptoms of malaria are often less noticeable with the smallest children since they do not necessarily develop a fever during their first 6 months. In that case, malaria can appear as a cough or diarrhoea. The smallest children (less than 6 months old) should therefore only as an exception be brought to areas with malaria.
If the child has a fever after you have returned – without any visible explanation – it should be examined by a doctor, immediately, on suspicion of malaria. The fever may appear up to 6 months after your return.