by Lin Stone
| It is estimated that between 350 and 500 million cases of malaria occur every year, resulting in at least one million deaths worldwide. Malaria is better known as Yellow Fever. It is a dangerous and potentially fatal disease, capable of causing death almost overnight in severe cases. According to the World Health Report, it is a leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age. |
World travelers should remember the threat of malaria when making their plans. Estimates show that around 107 territories present a major risk for contracting the disease. These territories include: Africa, Asia (including the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East), parts of Eastern Europe, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Panama, parts of Central America -- and many islands in the South Pacific. It is said that 3.2 billion people in these territories are already suffering from malaria. To help control this disease anyone who has had malaria is not allowed to donate blood for 3 years after treatment for malaria. World travelers who have been in one of these territories are not allowed to donate blood after returning home for various time restrictions.
|Mosquitoes have been beating around the bushes for a couple of millennium now. Way back in Adam's day there was only one way to escape. To dodge the mad gougers, Adam and Eve were forced to go skinny dipping more than twice a day.|
Are Your Children Safe at Home?
| Because the US has never been an area of high malaria transmission, many US travelers fail to recognize the importance of anti-malarial medications. A study published by the Journal of Travel Medicine in 2004 found that only 50% of respondents typically seek medical advice before traveling and 25% of travelers going to high-risk malaria areas were completely unaware of the threat. |
Even after returning home, travelers are still in danger of infection or reinfection, and may be particularly susceptible to malaria because of low exposure and lack of protective immunity. This allows the disease to develop rapidly and the risk can become grave. Quite often our healthcare providers at home aren't expecting malaria and on top of that, they are unfamiliar with the symptoms. This could lead to incorrect diagnosis and delayed treatment. Even worse, patients suffering from malaria could transmit the parasite to our local mosquitoes, thus infecting local residents and re-introducing malaria into our environment.
Travelers who stay in air conditioned motels or hotels and limit their outdoors activities at night run far less risk of contracting malaria than do backpackers and those pursuing outdoor sports.
Bug sprays and bug nets are advised for any exposed sleeping areas. Spraying your net with bug spray will help considerably You should plan well ahead to take protective measures to reduce contact with mosquitoes, especially during the hours of darkness. (preferably insecticide-treated nets), and wearing clothes that cover most of the body. A good supply of OFF and similar sprays is one strategy. The most effective repellents use N, N-diethylmetatoluamide -- better known as DEET, just remember that the actual concentration of DEET varies widely among repellents. Look for DEET formulations as high as 50% to protect both adults and children over 2 months of age.
NO method known can protect completely against contracting malaria.
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Your Emergency Kit, and What Goes Into It: We tend to expect things to go on as they always have. When we turn on the faucet we expect water to gush out. When we turn on the lights we expect the room to be illuminated. "That's the way it's always been." Unfortunately ----
| How will you know if you have malaria?|
Malaria is characterized by fever and influenza-like symptoms, including chills, headache, myalgias, and malaise. These symptoms can come upon you in waves of various intensities and uncertain intervals. It can cause seizures, mental confusion, kidney failure, coma, and -- left untreated -- death. Malaria symptoms can develop as early as 7 days after initial exposure in a malaria-endemic area and as late as several months after leaving a malarious area.
What makes malaria such a bad problem?
Malaria in humans is caused by one of four protozoan species of the genus Plasmodium: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, or P. malariae. All species are transmitted by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. The malaria parasite has the impressive ability to rapidly develop resistance to the anti-malarial drugs almost as fast as they are produced. Consequently, successful treatment of an illness requires strict adherence to a drug regimen.
Travelers should consult their physicians before leaving for any of these territories and be prepared to use treatments before leaving home and continuously while in malaria-endemic areas. Then take some more upon returning home.
This is especially hard for children. For them the horrible taste and smell of most malarial medications is a major hurdle to convincing them they should take any of it. Stopping anywhere short of completing the full course of medication opens the opportunity for the parasite in the body to regroup and develop even tougher resistance to low levels of the drug.
The most effective medication in the world is useless if bad taste prevents patients from taking it. FLAVORx Research Institute has developed a process whereby yucky medications such as Chloroquine, Mefloquine (Lariam?), Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine (Fansidar?), and Doxycycline can be easily converted into flavors such as Grape, Raspberry-Orange, Watermelon, Sour Apple and even Bubble gum.
With flavors like this to tempt them children (and let's face it there is a lot of child in all of us) are more apt to take their medicine and all of their medicine.
How is this done?
FLAVORx has developed a system that converts these anti-malarial tablets into a liquid suspension then successfully flavors them so that it is readily swallowed by young children. You can access this system at 30,000 (and growing) pharmacies across the U.S., including Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Osco and many more.
For out-of-country travelers, FLAVORx has developed a system to capsulate the tablets, with each capsule equivalent to one dose. The capsules are dispensed with a bottle of flavored liquid that is pre-measured into quantities in which the capsule can be dissolved. This method provides portability as well as a storage mode. And it does not require refrigeration so it can be tossed right into your travel bag.
FLAVORx has 10 years of pharmaceutical-specific research in medical flavorings and taste masking. The company has a web site at http://www.flavorx.com/ --, but it is meant to be educational for the trade, not tourists. The traveler is advised to also consult http://www.travmed.com or http://www.travelhealthhelp.com for more information.
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About the author: Independently less than wealthy, Lin Stone's first book, HOW TO BUY LAND AT TAX SALES, is so good it is still selling after seven years. Check it out at http://www.talewins.com/rs002.htm