Croydon residents have been urged to defend themselves from malaria through medication and other forms of protection when travelling abroad to Africa and Asia.
Malaria is a tropical disease that can become fatal, if not treated.
Symptoms for malaria include fever, vomiting and headaches. Symptoms usually appear between 7 and 18 days after becoming infected.
Public Heath England issued a warning to make more people aware of the risks of contracting malaria as every year around 1,500 people return to the UK from overseas with malaria.
In South London, there were 450 cases in 2017 – a 14% increase on the previous year.
Director of Public Health for Croydon Rachel Flowers said: ‘Taking action now can help people understand if they need to get protected against malaria and other preventable diseases, which could not only ruin their holiday but could have longer-term impacts on their return to Croydon.
‘I urge everyone who is planning to go abroad to check their vaccination records with their GP before travelling. Even if you were born abroad, you are not automatically immune from the risks of catching a serious illness from an insect bite or infected food or water.’
To prevent malaria, you can purchase insect repellent, to spray on your arms and legs and buy a mosquito net to further protect yourself. Malaria-prevention tablets are also available to buy from your local pharmacy.
Speak to your GP if you’re planning to visit an area where there’s a malaria risk.
For more information on malaria and how to protect yourself, visit the NHS Choices website.
Featured image courtesy of Enrique Dans via Flickr