Font Size
A
A
A

Children and Malaria: Reducing the Risk


Topic Overview

Children who live in areas where malaria is present

Malaria causes the death of thousands of children in certain areas of the world, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Young children are especially susceptible, because they have not yet developed any immunity to malaria. Immunity develops through repeated infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) is working to reduce the number of deaths. WHO encourages parents to seek prompt care and treatment, treat other health conditions, and use mosquito-proof bed nets.

Children who travel to areas where malaria is present

If you intend to travel to an area where malaria is present, try to prepare for your trip at least 6 weeks in advance. Learn about the prevention and treatment of malaria in children. The most current information about your travel destination and the risk of malaria is available from:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Your local health department.
  • A travel clinic (which can be located through the International Society of Travel Medicine's website at www.istm.org).
  • Your doctor.

It is important to review this information, have your child's immunizations up-to-date, and get any other shots required for your destination. Children are sometimes given the same antimalarial medicines as those given to adults to prevent malaria. The amount of medicine given to a child is based on the child's weight. Overdosage of antimalarial medicines can be fatal. Keep medicines in childproof containers out of reach of children, and give dosages exactly on schedule.

Some health conditions may prevent a child from taking certain medicines, and a less effective medicine may be prescribed instead. If your child is unable to take a highly effective medicine such as mefloquine or doxycycline, it may be best to avoid travel in chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum areas.

Also, certain insect repellents may not be safe for children. Some studies have shown negative reactions in children who use large amounts of the insect repellent DEET.1

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Croft AM (2010). Malaria: Prevention in travellers, search date November 2009. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence (7).

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerW. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Last RevisedApril 11, 2013

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.





Medical Dictionary