The first defense to be activated to avoid malarial risk is to avoid mosquito bites. The female Anopheles mosquito, the vector of the malarial parasite, uses thermal and olfactory, but also visual, stimuli to locate the host to be stung to make his blood-based meal. In particular, it is attracted to carbon dioxide concentrations. The dark colors attract the insect in question which it uses to sting at sunset and during the early hours of the night. Some natural perfumes or fragrances can attract mosquitoes and cause them to sting.
Inside homes: protecting windows with insecticide-treated nets and using mosquito nets impregnated with insecticides on the beds can provide good protection; the use of air conditioning considerably reduces the risk of insect bites.
Outdoors: use clothes that cover well, preferably shirts with long sleeves and long trousers, in particular from sunset to evening; it is advisable to pass repellents or insecticides on clothes to further decrease the risk of stings.
Most repellents contain DEET (N, N-diethyl-methyl-toluamide) very active substance in use for over 40 years. Other synthetic repellents are active for about 3-4 hours and must be applied periodically (about every 3 hours) during exposure to malaria risk. Repellents must not be inhaled or ingested and are dangerous on irritated skin or on the eyes. They should be used with caution in children and never applied on their hands because they are easy tools for contaminating the eyes and mouth. Water can easily remove different types of repellents from the skin.
The repellent must be applied to the whole exposed part of the body: it is proven that mosquitoes can sting less than an inch from a covered area.
The use of repellents is not recommended:
The risk of death from malaria of the woman increases in pregnancy. Do not go to malaria areas unless absolutely necessary. WHO (World Health Organization) advises pregnant women not to go on vacation to areas where there is transmission of chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum.
The WHO does not recommend taking infants and young children on holiday to malarial areas, particularly where there is transmission of chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum unless absolutely necessary.