WHO emphasizes that all travellers (domestic and international) should be up to date with routine vaccinations.
Travellers should be advised to check that they have been fully vaccinated against measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and poliomyelitis before starting their travel. Non-immunized or incompletely immunized travellers should be offered the routine vaccinations recommended in their national immunization schedules, in addition to those needed for international travel.
Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 6 months) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.
All travellers should be advised that personal protection from mosquito bites between dusk and dawn is their first line of defence against malaria.
Travellers may protect themselves from mosquitoes by the means outlined in the following paragraphs.
Insect repellents are substances applied to exposed skin or to clothing to prevent human/vector contact. The active ingredient in a repellent repels insects but does not kill them. Choose a repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide), IR3535 (3-[N-acetyl-N-butyl]-aminopropionic acid ethyl ester) or Icaridin (1-piperidinecarboxylic acid, 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-methylpropylester). Insect repellents should be applied to provide protection at times when insects are biting. Care must be taken to avoid contact with mucous membranes; insect repellents should not be sprayed on the face, applied to the eyelids or lips, or applied to sensitive, sunburned or damaged skin or deep skin folds. Always wash the hands after applying the repellent. Repeated applications may be required every 3–4 h, especially in hot and humid climates when sweating may be profuse. When the product is applied to clothes, the repellent effect lasts longer. However, label instructions should be followed to avoid damage to certain fabrics. Repellents should be used in strict accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions and the dosage must not be exceeded, especially for young children and pregnant women.
Mosquito nets are excellent means of personal protection while sleeping. Nets can be used either with or without insecticide treatment. However, treated nets are much more effective. Pretreated nets may be commercially available. Nets should be strong and with a mesh size no larger than 1.5 mm. The net should be tucked in under the mattress, ensuring first that it is not torn and that there are no mosquitoes inside. Nets for hammocks are available, as are nets for cots and small beds.
Mosquito coils are the best known example of insecticide vaporizer, usually with a synthetic pyrethroid as the active ingredient. A more sophisticated product, which requires electricity, is an insecticide mat that is placed on an electrically heated grid, causing the insecticide to vaporize. Battery-operated vaporizers are also available. Such devices can also be used during daytime if necessary.
Aerosol sprays intended to kill flying insects are effective for quick knockdown and killing. Indoor sleeping areas should be sprayed before bedtime. Treating a room with an insecticide spray will help to free it from insects, but the effect may be short-lived. Spraying before bedtime, combined with the use of a vaporizer or a mosquito net, is recommended. Aerosol sprays intended for crawling insects (e.g. cockroaches and ants) should be sprayed on surfaces where these insects walk.
Protective clothing can help at times of the day when vectors are active. The thickness of the material is critical. Insect repellent applied to clothing is effective for longer than it may be on the skin. Extra protection is provided by treating clothing with permethrin or etofenprox, to prevent mosquitoes from biting through clothing. In tick- and flea-infested areas, feet should be protected by appropriate footwear and by tucking long trousers into the socks. Such measures are further enhanced by application of repellents to the clothing.
Travellers camping in tents should use a combination of mosquito repellents and screens. The mesh size of tent screens often exceeds 1.5 mm, so that special mosquito screens have to be deployed.
Screening of windows, doors and eaves reduces exposure to flying insects.
Accommodation with these features should be sought where available.
Air-conditioning is a highly effective means of keeping mosquitoes and other insects out of a room as long as the room has no gaps around windows or doors. In air-conditioned hotels, other precautions are not necessary indoors
Unclean food and water can cause travelers' diarrhea and other diseases. Reduce your risk by sticking to safe food and water habits.