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Choose your antimalarial medicine with care

Every year more than a hundred travellers from the UK catch malaria and tens of them die. The onset can be rapid. The right anti malaria tablet provides good protection. The risks are higher for children and pregnant women, and for people with ongoing medical conditions.

No one type of recommended anti-malaria tablet works better than another. Some are daily tablets, some weekly. Some are started a few days before travel, others 7 or 10 days before. Before you order your antimalarial please visit NHS Fit for Trave. to make sure you are ordering the right medicines for the area you are visiting


People get malaria by being bitten by a mosquito infected with malaria parasites. When the mosquito feeds on blood from an infected human, the malaria parasites develop in the mosquito and mix with the mosquito's saliva. When the infected mosquito bites another person, malaria can be transmitted.

Because the malaria parasite lives in the red blood cells of an infected person, malaria can also be transmitted via blood transfusion, or the shared use of needles. Malaria may also be transmitted from a mother to her baby before or during delivery.

Mosquitoes can bite at any time of day. Most bites occur in the evening.

  • Wear long-sleeved clothing and long trousers if you are out at dusk and at night.
  • Use insect repellant containing DEET on exposed skin and under thin clothing, particularly around the ankles. Higher strength DEET, up to 50%, should be used if tolerated.
  • Insect repellent sprays, mosquito coils, and heating insecticide impregnated tablets all reduce the risk of bites.
  • Where possible sleep in screened rooms and use a mosquito net, preferably one impregnated with insecticide.
  • Ultrasound devices, garlic, Vitamin B, marmite, homeopathic products, tonic water, and citronella DO NOT prevent bites.

Malaria symptoms start out similar to flu. Symptoms include fever, shivers, sweating, backache, joint pains, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea & sometimes delirium.

These symptoms may take a week or more to develop after you have been bitten by an infected mosquito.

  • Seek medical advice if you get malaria symptoms for up to a year after exposure, even after taking anti-malarial tablets. Malaria is diagnosed with a simple blood test.
  • If you are travelling in remote areas for prolonged periods it may be best to carry a malaria treatment and/or a malaria testing kit with you. Discuss this with your regular doctor.

The correct antimalarial tablets will depend on:

  • Where you are going (the most appropriate anti-malarial medication varies with location due to local resistance patterns). See www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx.
  • Any health issues you may have
  • Personal choice. The medicines have different regimes (how often and how long they need to be taken), different potential side effects, as well as different cost

Please follow the following steps in order to order Malaria Tablets

  1. To find the malaria tablets recommended for the area you plan to visit please go to the NHS Fit for Travel website.
  2. On the NHS website find the page for the country you are visiting.
  3. On the top of your country page, click the link labeled 'Malaria Map'.
  4. On the malaria map page check if you are going to areas coloured red or pink and see the advice below the map. If antimalarials are usually advised return to the malaria section of the country.
  5. Your recommended tablets are at the bottom of your country page under the heading 'Malaria precautions'. It is important to ensure that you select  ALL the recommended tablets.
  6. People visiting multiple regions where different tablets are recommended must see their GP or a specialist travel adviser before ordering.
  7. If you are NOT eligible for treatment from MyMeds, please consult your doctor or a specialist travel clinic. It is NOT safe to travel without appropriate malaria prevention
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