Did anyone see Mary and Martha last week?
Love Actually writer, Richard Curtis, wrote this moving and very tragic story for Comic Relief 2013 about two mothers who lose their sons to malaria. It certainly has got us all talking in travel clinic.
The films story tells the tale of two mothers who meet in Zimbabwe following the deaths of their sons from malaria. Martha, played by Brenda Blethyn, loses her son Ben after he gives away his malaria tablets and she and Mary, played by Hollywood actress Hilary Swank, form an unlikely friendship and team up to campaign for malaria prevention.
Richard Curtis was inspired to write the story after hearing about Jo Yirrell, whose son Harry worked in Ghana in 2005. Jo lost her son Harry to malaria after he gave away his malaria tablets to the locals in Ghana. Harry had an amazing adventure in Ghana, he helped build a school, met a local girl and fell in love. He saw the local community suffering from malaria and in a selfless act he gave away his malaria tablets. On his return home to the UK, Harry became sick with symptoms of malaria and was admitted to hospital and sadly passed away.
Before Harry died, Jo had little knowledge about malaria. However, since Harry’s death in 2005 she has campaigned and raised awareness of malaria through her role as an Ambassador for the UK based charity – Malaria No More. Jo also speaks at Travel Medicine study days in the UK educating health care professionals by sharing her experience. I have had the pleasure of meeting this inspirational woman who has dedicated her life to campaigning to try and prevent unnecessary deaths from malaria. I am sure Jo has saved many lives and Harry would be extremely proud of all his mum has achieved.
How can you help?
If you need to discuss malaria recommendations for the countries you are travelling to , pick up malaria tablets or buy a net – Call the clinic on 01273 749100.
With such a wide range of mosquito nets available it is often hard to know which net to choose. It really does depend on what type of trip you need the net for. If you are backpacking and space is limited the Ultra net may be the most suitable as this net comes in a very compact bag. If you are camping then the Care Plus Pop Up Dome net or the Lifesystems Geo Net would be ideal. Here we look at the different nets available.
If you are travelling to an area where malaria is present we recommend you purchase a net with long lasting impregnation (LLI) in. These nets are impregnated with chemicals that last for up to 2 years and a mosquito will die on contact if it lands on the net. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend these if you are visiting a malaria risk area.
1. The Lifesystems Ultra Net £19.99
Advantages – the lightweight, compact design means it will fit snuggle in your backpack without taking up too much room. Weighs only 200 g. Has LLI.
2. The Careplus Pop Up Dome Mosquito Net – £27.99
Advantages – Self supporting net, no hanging kit required. Compact and lightweight for travel- 400 g. Has LLI. Ideal for camping or for those staying in different places night after night as it does not need to be hung up. Watch the video….
3. Mosinet Double Mosquito Net -£47.99
Advantages – another self supporting net that has LLI. Repels and kills insects on contact.
4. The Care Plus Combi Box Mosquito Net – £37.99
Advantages – very versatile net that can be hung in four different ways. Ideal for use anywhere. Double net with LLI. Watch the video…
5. The Lifesystems Geo Net – £49.99
Advantages – a self supporting freestanding net that can be used if you are sleeping outdoors. Requires no hanging kit and has LLI.
All of these nets are available to buy in clinic or online via our sister site –FREE UK DELIVERY
Mosquitoes are the vector of malaria which is spread at night. They also spread other diseases such as; Dengue fever, Yellow fever, Japanese B encephalitis, St Louis encephalitis and Bancrofti and Filariasis. Some of these diseases are spread by daytime biting mosquitos. The best advice is to avoid mosquito bites.
Insect Bite Avoidance
MALARIA – REMEMBER MALARIA CAN BE A FATAL ILLNESS
It is essential to complete your course of malaria tablets to get full protection. Keep taking them when you get home as prescribed.
Initial symptoms of malaria can often be mild, difficult to recognise and can be confused with flu. If you develop flu-like symptoms once you return home, seek medical advice immediately and tell them you have recently returned from a malaria- risk zone. This will enable a speedy diagnosis and could potentially save your life.
We stock a full range of mosquito nets, insect repellents and other travel related equipment – ask your nurse for more details.
In our third question and answer post we look at a common question we get asked when travelling to the Gambia.
Q: Do I need to take malaria tablets for a holiday to The Gambia?
A. Yes malaria tablets would be recommended for a trip to The Gambia. Between October and December 2011 18 cases of malaria were imported into the UK and found to be associated with travel to The Gambia. 7 of these cases were in holidaymakers. Malaria is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito and can be fatal. The preventative steps to be taken to avoid mosquito bites include using a Deet based insect repellent, sleeping under a mosquito net and covering up as much skin as possible with loose clothing. Appropriate anti -malarial medicines can be obtained by consulting with your travel health nurse . You need to take these before, during and after travel. Your nurse will advise which tablets will be most suitable and explain any potential side effects. It is important to know that malaria is not entirely preventable so all travellers should seek immediate health advice if they become unwell following a holiday to a malaria risk area. Symptoms of malaria can be any of the following; diarrhoea, flu like symptoms headache and fever.
You should also ensure you have had all of the recommended vaccinations for travel to The Gambia.
To book an appointment at Sussex Travel Clinic call 01273 749100 or book ONLINE