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Your Travel Packing Essentials Checklist

Posted Tuesday 23 June 2020 13:00 by in Anti Malaria by Harman Bhamra

Whether you’re a certified traveller or somebody who just got bitten by the travel bug, this travel packing essentials checklist is for you. We’ll list down all the things you need in this travelling checklist to keep your adventure fun, safe, and worry-free.

Let’s start with your clothes!

Clothes To Pack When Travelling

Clothes are the most important thing to remember on your travels. You want to be both comfortable and stylish (for those inevitable Instagram pics!). So, here’s a quick list of the stuff you need to pack. Feel free to customise this travelling checklist based on your destination. You don’t want to end up bringing sweaters and coats in the tropics!

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Bras
  • Sleepwear
  • T-shirts
  • Dress Shirts
  • Casual Shirts
  • Jeans
  • Pants
  • Shorts
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Sweaters
  • Sweatshirts
  • Suits
  • Swimsuits
  • Cover-ups
  • Coats
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Scarves
  • Umbrella
  • Laundry Kit
  • Laundry Bag
  • Leisure Shoes
  • Hiking Boots
  • Sneakers
  • Snow Boots
  • Dress Shoes
  • Sandals
  • Belts
  • Ties
  • Jewellery
  • Purses
  • Collapsible Totes
  • Money Belt

When it comes to clothing, pack smart. Pick clothing that can be worn on your day to day adventures and then dress up slightly with a different pair of shoes or bottoms.

Toiletries To Pack When Travelling

The next group of items in your travel packing essentials checklist are your toiletries. You can buy some of these at your destination to save on luggage weight. Remember that any liquid, aerosols, pastes, creams, and gels that are over 100 ml (3.4 ounces) should be put in your checked-in luggage. Airport authorities are very strict about this rule.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair Brush
  • Styling Tools
  • Facial Cleanser
  • Face Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizer
  • Contact Lenses
  • Contact Solution
  • Shaving Supplies
  • Makeup
  • Makeup Remover
  • Feminine-Hygiene Products
  • Birth Control
  • Nail File
  • Nail Clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Bandages
  • First-Aid Ointment
  • Insect Repellent
  • Medications
  • Pain Relievers
  • Vitamins

Other Essential Items

  • Cell Phone
  • Laptop/Tablet
  • Electronics Chargers
  • Travel Adapter
  • Film/Memory Card
  • List of Medications
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Credit Card/Bank Contacts
  • Copy of Passport

What To Put In Your Carry-On Bag When Travelling

Your carry-on bag is the bag that you’ll carry with you on the plane. So, ideally, pack only the things you need while on the flight. It’s also a good precaution to pack at least two pairs of clothes in your carry-on bag just in case your luggage gets lost (yes, this does happen!).

You’ll be carrying this bag with you on the plane, bus, train, or boat so keep it light and handy. Here’s a quick rundown of the things you can put in your carry-on bag.

  • Books or E-Books
  • Video/MP3 Player
  • Headphones
  • Travel Blanket
  • Travel Pillow
  • Eye Mask
  • Earplugs
  • Tissues
  • Lip Balm
  • Change of Clothes
  • Snacks
  • Gum
  • Empty Water Bottle
  • In-Flight Medication
  • Valuables
  • Camera
  • Passport/Visa/ID
  • Paper/Pen
  • Cash
  • Credit/ATM cards
  • Insurance Cards
  • Itinerary
  • Maps/Directions
  • Guidebook
  • Glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • House Keys

Keeping Yourself Safe From Malaria

Most people in the UK visit the tropical countries because of their pristine beaches and the sun. But there are also hidden dangers lurking in paradise - malaria. This mosquito-borne disease can be fatal. Malaria is commonly found in Africa, South Asia, parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. Check out this blog post if you want to learn more about the causes of malaria.

“Malaria is an almost completely preventable but potentially fatal disease and it remains an important issue for UK travellers. With the summer holidays fast approaching, it is a timely reminder to all travellers going to countries where malaria is present to seek pre-travel advice about the appropriate measures to take to protect themselves, including preventive medicines. If you have any symptoms (usually flu-like or a fever), either while you are away or for up to a year after you return home, you must seek urgent medical help; malaria may cause severe complications and can be fatal.” - Public Health England

If you intend to travel to places where malaria is present, it’s important to take certain precautions to keep yourself safe. There are several methods available to keep yourself safe from this potentially fatal disease. Here are two:

Use mosquito repellants

Malaria is transmitted through the bites of the female Anopheles mosquito. Mosquito repellants can help keep these insects away for a short time. Make sure you use one that contains at least 50% DEET. Apply mosquito repellants on exposed skin and under thin clothing.

Take anti-malaria tablets

Express Pharmacy stocks malaria tablets that effectively take any worries away from your travels. These tablets are not 100% effective so its best to take them together with mosquito bite prevention measures. Most antimalarial tablets need to be taken for four weeks after you return with the exception of Malarone which needs to only be taken for one week.


What Is Malaria Caused By?

Posted Monday 30 March 2020 12:12 by in Anti Malaria by Harman Bhamra

Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease that infects your red blood cells. Most commonly, the disease is contracted from an infected mosquito bite, which leads to a parasite entering your bloodstream. Once the bloodstream has been infected, the parasite travels to the liver and begins to mature across several days; infecting the red blood cells and causing them to burst.

As well as an infected mosquito bite, there are other explanations as to what causes malaria to be spread and contracted. An organ transplant can lead to the development of malaria - this is due to the procedure often requiring a blood transfusion at the same time.

The disease is primarily involved with blood and so contaminated needles or syringes can also lead to the spread of the parasites.

5 Types of Malaria Parasites (Plasmodium)

P.Falciparum is the most common type of parasite and has led to the most fatalities around the world. It causes large blood loss and clogging of vessels and spreads rapidly. This parasite can also lead to the development of liver and kidney failure, along with the other symptoms mentioned above.

P.Vivax parasites can be dormant for years after the bite has occurred, delaying the expression of symptoms and increasing the risk of those infected passing it to others. This is most commonly found in Latin America and Asia and, along with falciparum, is considered the most dangerous of the five species, more so due to the high risk of passing it on.

P.Ovale and P.Malariae cause a mild form of malaria and very rarely results in fatalities. They are responsible for a fairly small percentage of human infections and it is rare for individuals to contract these particular parasites compared to the others.

The final parasite is called P.Knowlesi and although it has led to human malaria, it more commonly infects primates (monkeys, apes, lemurs etc).

Symptoms of Malaria

Malaria can cause a multitude of different symptoms that will appear within the first 7-18 days of becoming infected, but it has been known for them to stay dormant for up to a year or more. The symptoms of malaria can include:

  • High temperature/fever: in your body’s attempt to fight the infection, if you contract malaria you will run a fever (temperature over 38°C)
  • Convulsions: also known as seizures. This is due to a change in your brain's electrical activity, causing severe shaking and loss of control; this is due to malaria disturbing your body’s general functioning.
  • Chills: those infected could experience feeling cold for no apparent reason
  • Headaches
  • Nausea/Vomiting: overall stomach discomfort and sensation of feeling sick for some time, or physically being sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle pains
  • Anaemia: this is when your level of healthy red blood cells become too low and therefore the amount of oxygen carried around your blood is limited. Malaria causes this as the parasite causes healthy red blood cells to burst

Due to these symptoms being fairly generic, it is hard to determine them as malaria. However, a clear identifier is if these symptoms appear over 48-hour cycles, with shivering, fever, sweating or fatigue lasting from 6-12 hours.

Malaria Classifications

Asymptomatic malaria can be caused by any of the five parasite species in the blood but does not result in the expression of any symptoms. This certain type of malaria can be dangerous, primarily to others as it generally goes undiagnosed for long periods and can lead to the disease becoming widespread by those originally infected.

Uncomplicated malaria will see people experiencing symptoms after 7-10 days of becoming bitten by a mosquito. This classification will lead to generic symptoms, such as fever, sweating, nausea and headaches. These nonspecific symptoms can lead to the disease going undiagnosed for some time and can lead to spreading.

Severe malaria is primarily associated with the P.Falciparum parasite, but not exclusively. This can lead to more serious symptoms, varying from anaemia to end-organ damage, as well as pulmonary complications and a coma.

Who is Most at Risk of Malaria?

Around half the world's population is at some risk of becoming infected with malaria, but some geographical locations are at a higher risk of contracting malaria.

There are also some groups of people who could face more severe consequences if they were to become infected:

Pregnant women face a higher risk if they are to become diagnosed with malaria. Complications can vary from stillbirth, anaemia (both mother and baby), neonatal death and low birth weight.

Infants and children (under the age of five or six) are the most vulnerable group to contract and encounter rapid progression of the disease. Under 5’s account for 67% of all malaria deaths around the world.

Malaria has been most commonly found in Africa, Asia and America, but due to its ability to lie dormant, the spread of infection can lead to malaria being contracted anywhere in the world. However, Central Africa was responsible for 93% of all cases in 2018.

How To Prevent Yourself From Malaria

When travelling to countries in which malaria is a high risk, it is important to take precautions to protect your health. There are different methods available to both treat and prevent the contraction of malaria, from tablets to sprays and injections.

Express Pharmacy has a reliable selection of anti-malaria tablets, however, these anti-malaria medications are not 100% effective at protecting you against the disease and so should be used hand in hand with anti bite prevention.

Doxycycline is an anti-malaria tablet that should be taken once a day, 2-days before visiting a high-risk area, and should be taken at this rate for up to 4 weeks after leaving.

Malarone should be taken the same as Doxycycline, once a day and for 2-days before. However, it is only required to be administered 1 week after returning from the location.

Lariam should be taken once, weekly, with the first tablet being taken preferably 2-3 weeks before travelling and 4 weeks after.


Your Common Sense Guide to Malaria

Posted Friday 03 May 2019 12:44 by in Anti Malaria by Johanna Galyen

High Fevers. Bone-breaking Chills. Abdominal Pain. And, oh, those muscles aches. Like you’ve just hiked 10 kilometres straight uphill with no relief! With symptoms like these, should you even visit countries that are at risk for malaria? Is it worth taking the chances? What should you do? Should you even travel?

The answer is a cautious maybe. Careful planning and taking the right precautions can help to ease any fears you have about travelling abroad. And it is always wise to “think about health in advance of your trip," says Bradley Connor, MD, a travel health specialist at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

Here is some common sense advice to help keep you free of malaria:

1. Understand What Malaria Is

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite that the female Anopheles mosquito is infected with; this incredibly tiny parasite attaches itself to the mother mosquito and when she bites humans to feed her growing eggs, she injects the parasite into the human host as well.

The parasite makes its way through the bloodstream and eventually lands within the liver to grow. Each little parasite attaches itself to red blood cells, and produces more parasites until the red blood cell bursts open. When this happens, it releases all the growing parasites to attach themselves to even more red blood cells, and you start to feel very, very sick.

There are five specific species of the Plasmodium parasite that a mosquito can carry:

Plasmodium falciparum

Plasmodium malariae

Plasmodium vivax

Plasmodium ovale

Plasmodium knowlesi

Of the five types, plasmodium knowlesi is rarely contracted by humans, as it typically only infects monkeys. The deadliest of the types is Plasmodium falciparum. Scientists Against Malaria say, “Almost every malarial death is caused by P. falciparum” as it has a unique ability during the multiplication of the parasite to make the red blood cells become very sticky in the veins and capillaries. If the parasite is not treated (and killed) by medication, it can kill the person by clogging the blood supply that feeds the brain or other vital organs.

The other three types of malaria (malariae, vivax, ovale) can cause a great deal of misery, but they are rarely fatal.

2. Know the Hotspots for Malaria

When considering places to visit, remember, mosquitoes like warm and moist areas. Warm areas that have lakes, streams, rivers, and jungles. Most notably these will be in the tropics and subtropical areas where mosquito populations are greatest. Deserts typically have much lower mosquito populations due to the dry, arid conditions but in areas with water, such as an oasis, malaria-carrying mosquitos may be found.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “The highest transmission is found in Africa, South of the Sahara, and in parts of Oceania such as Papua New Guinea.” If you are travelling anywhere along the equator, it is good to research your trip’s locations to see if you are at risk of contracting malaria. Fit for Travel is one such excellent website that can provide you with the most up-to-date information.

3. Be Prepared

Anti-malarial medications can help to kill the Plasmodium parasite within your body, and there are three main options to choose from:

Malarone – This medicine is started two days before your trip and continues for one week after you return. Side effects are usually minimal as this medicine is well tolerated in most people, but they can include coughing, headache, nausea, dizziness, and weakness.

Doxycycline – The medicine is taken two days prior to the beginning of your travels, and it continues until four weeks after your return. Side effects can be a heightened sensitivity to sunlight (you can get a nasty sunburn), and it can also cause blurred vision, headache, thrush, and diarrhoea.

Lariam – A once-a-week table to prevent malaria; this medicine is started (preferably) two weeks prior to your trip and continued until four weeks after your return. Lariam can cause some noticeable side effects like nausea, headache, abdominal pain, convulsions, nightmares and even depression.

4. Understand Your Current Health

Dr. Bradley Connor also says “If you have a chronic health problem, get a check-up before you leave." Travelling can bring out the best and worst in your health, so it is good to know what you are dealing with prior to leaving to ensure that you will feel great on your trip.

There are some travellers who should not visit areas that are endemic with malaria. Women who are currently pregnant should avoid travelling to areas with malaria if at all possible. The CDC states “infection in pregnant women can be more severe than in nonpregnant women. Malaria can increase the risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, including prematurity, abortion, and stillbirth.”

Those who previously lived in endemic malaria areas, moved away, and want to return should also carefully reassess their health. For some types of malaria, the body can create immunities against the parasite. However, this immunity can quickly lessen over time, and they will be at the same risk as a first-time traveller.

Who else should be cautious about their health in areas with malaria?

Those on immune-suppressing drugs

Organ transplant patients

People undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy

Those who have recently undergone surgery or suffered a heart attack or stroke

5. Prevention 101: Don’t Get Bitten!

One of the best ways to avoid being bitten by the mosquito is to keep it away from your skin. Try these easy steps:

Stay inside during the late evening and early morning hours when mosquitoes are most active.

Wearing long sleeved clothing, trousers, and long skirts can help to shield you from the bites. Note: keep those shirt-tails tucked in to protect your back and stomach areas.

Wear socks and shoes; no sandals. It also helps to tuck your trousers into your socks to ensure that no skin is exposed.

Always sleep under a mosquito net – preferably one that has been treated with an insecticide.

Use bug spray that has 20-40% DEET in it. Picaridin and Lemon Eucalyptus oil are DEET-free options that can be used, but remember, they should be applied more frequently to provide the right protection.

6. Know The Symptoms

Most children and travellers know the sight of a mosquito bite; it is a red, raised itchy bump on your skin. However, the female Anopheles mosquito does not leave a mark at all. Additionally, the mosquito’s saliva can act as an anaesthetic, so most people do not even know that they were bitten by the mosquito until the symptoms start showing. Because of this, it is important to know the symptoms of malaria. The treatment of the disease works better and faster when it is first discovered versus waiting until you are extremely sick.

According to WebMD, the symptoms are shaking chills, high fever, profuse sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, yellowing skin, diarrhoea, muscle pain, convulsions (like a seizure), and bloody stools.

7. Keep Your GP Informed

Your general practitioner (GP) should be informed of your travels to areas that have malaria. This information can help them prepare you for the trip and keep you healthier. Additionally after, returning from these areas, you may want to have a follow-up appointment as well. This may seem as if you are overdoing it, but malaria can mimic many different illnesses initially. It can appear as flu-like symptoms, migraines, gastrointestinal illness (stomach bug), and even worse conditions like seizures or bleeding in the intestines. If your GP knows that you have visited areas with malaria, they can be vigilant to order the right tests if you do become ill.

Another important consideration is Plasmodium vivax. This type of malaria is one of the more confusing types. It can lie dormant (asleep) within your body for months or years, and then suddenly arise causing many symptoms. While it is typically not fatal in of itself, it can interfere with your current health problems and worsen them. If you already have difficult, chronic health conditions, you may struggle more than usual

It is our goal here at Express Pharmacy that you return from your travels with happy memories and are as healthy (or even healthier!) than when you left. Being prepared for malaria is very important, and we are here to help you get ready in the most effective way possible. Discover medications for your anti-malarial needs – here at Express Pharmacy. We can help you gain access to effective treatment swiftly and discreetly. Contact us today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our online Live Chat service.


Is Malaria Really That Serious?

Posted Thursday 28 March 2019 17:41 by in Anti Malaria by Johanna Galyen

It’s been around for centuries. We all know we should avoid it, protect ourselves from it, use the right medications to prevent it, and a net to protect our beds at night from it – but why? Why is malaria such a big deal? It’s 2019, should you really worry about a tiny mosquito as you travel on holiday this summer? Why is such a tiny little pest causing so many problems?

The answer is rather scary. The World Health Organisation stated “There were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 90 countries. Malaria deaths reached 435,000 in 2017.” While many measures are in place to help lower these terrible statistics, the prevalence of malaria is something that should not be ignored.

You need to know the symptoms of malaria

After being bitten by a mosquito carrying malaria, there are no symptoms initially. Only the female Anopheles mosquitos carry malaria, and they’re actually carrying a parasite that is injected into your bloodstream when they bite. These little ladies do not leave a bite mark, and the site does not swell up or does spot itch as most people think of mosquito bites. This is one of the reasons that the bite is so dangerous; you probably don’t even know that it happened.

The symptoms can take one to two weeks to appear (or even a year) in your body because the parasite travels to your liver and begins to grow there. The National Health Service (NHS) says that Malaria’s symptoms are similar initially to a flu-like illness:

  • High fever, above 38° C
  • Chills and sweats alternating
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

Without proper care, malaria can cause liver failure, fluid in the lungs (pulmonary oedema), kidney failure, anaemia, and ultimately death.

You Need to Know Where Malaria is Prevalent

Malaria countries, or countries affected by Malaria, are located in Africa, Central and South America, some parts of the Caribbean, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific. Mosquitos like warm, moist climates and thrive in areas near bodies of water.

Africa has the most significant amount of malaria, according to WHO, and “it was found that 92% of malaria cases and 93% of malaria deaths was prevalent here” in 2017. The World Health Organisation also stated that “In 2017, five countries accounted for nearly half of all malaria cases worldwide: Nigeria (25%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), Mozambique (5%), India (4%) and Uganda (4%).”

You Need to Know How to Protect Yourself

If you are travelling to an area that has Malaria, there are many necessary steps to protect yourself from this disease. Each of the three preventative steps is important, but none of them will protect 100%. Therefore, if possible, you should utilise all three ways simultaneously.

1.Anti-Malarial Medications

Anti-Malarial medications work to destroy the parasite within the body. Three of these medications are Doxycycline, Malarone or Lariam. Because Malaria is a parasite that has different growing stages, these medications must be taken prior, during, and after your trip (for a certain number of weeks) to ensure that your body has the right amount of malaria-fighting properties in it. If you do not take the medication in its entirety, some of the parasites may survive.

While the three medications are equal in their effectiveness, they each come with differing side effects and interactions. It is essential that you speak with your GP to ensure that you take the right medication for you.

2. Malaria Net for Your Bed

A simple mosquito net for your bed is very inexpensive. It is so financially cheap that you may wonder why a net is so important? To help you understand this, it is good to remember that the female Anopheles mosquito doesn’t start working at 8 am. She likes to work late at night around 10 pm to 2 am, which most people are going to bed or asleep at these times. To prevent even one mosquito from biting you, a simple net can help protect you.

3. Bug Spray

So if you’re taking the medications and using a net, is bug spray still needed? The answer is yes. Bug spray is helpful if you are going to be up and moving during the later hours of the evening, such as walking outside of your tent to use the restroom. According to Fit for Travel, it is best to use a bug spray that has at least DEET 20-30%, Picaridin 20%, or Lemon eucalyptus 30%. They each smell differently, have varying concentrations and warnings and should be reapplied at different intervals. It is important to look carefully at your bug spray's directions and follow it’s recommendations.

You Need to Know What To Do If You Think You Have Malaria

Just like most illnesses, the sooner you can begin treatment for Malaria, the better it is for your body. So if you start experiencing symptoms, it is best to get to your healthcare provider and be tested. It is crucial to inform your doctor that you have been in an area that has Malaria so they can order the right blood tests that may be missed otherwise.

A thick blood smear is currently the most sensitive test accord to Lab Test Online, and it is considered to be “the gold standard” of testing. By taking a few large drops of blood, smearing it on a glass slide, and looking at it under a microscope, the doctor can search for the Plasmodium parasite.

If you do have Malaria, your GP may prescribe medication for you. Currently, Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are used to treat Malaria. In years past, Chloroquine was used, but many types of Malaria have become resistant against them. Some physicians may use anti-malarial drugs in combination with ACT therapy as well. Whichever medications you are prescribed, it is important to take the entire dose of medicine in the right quantity each day. Even if you start to feel better after a few days, you must take all of the medication to ensure that all of the parasites are destroyed.

Conclusion

Malaria is a serious illness that you should take the appropriate preventative steps to avoid. Even though it has been around for centuries, it is still a significant threat to your health in 2019. So as you plan for your holiday this season, be sure to research and make the right plans for your trip. A little bit of planning and preventative steps can ensure that you will be healthy and able to enjoy your time away!

Being prepared for Malaria is very important, and we are here to help you get ready in the most effective way possible. Discover medications for your anti-malarial needs – here at Express Pharmacy. We can help you gain access to effective treatment swiftly and discreetly. Contact us today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our online Live Chat service.


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