I was at my St Johns Ambulance Cadets meeting and we have been studying diseases and one which particularly fascinated me was not just malaria, but ‘super malaria’….

But what’s the difference between malaria and ‘super malaria’?

Well basically it is a dangerous form of the malaria parasite which cannot be killed with the main anit-malaria drugs. It emerged in Cambodia but has spread to other areas of South East Asia such as Thailand.

The team at the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok said there was a real danger of malaria becoming untreatable.

Prof Arjen Dondorp, the head of the malaria unit, told the BBC News website: “We think it is a serious threat.

It frightens me to think that this ‘superbug’ will spread further and most likely to Africa and even more so to think of the thousands of deaths this may have the potential to cause if not treated properly.

It also got me thinking, as I am going to Thailand in October, how I can help prevent this as it seems anti-malaria drugs may not be all that is needed to prevent it…

Here are some other steps yo u should take if you plan on travelling anywhere in South East Asia in the future…

  1. Awareness of risk- visit your GP or local travel clinic before you travel to make sure that you are at a higher risk of getting malaria and specific advice
  2. Bite prevention- use insect repellent, cover your arms and legs and use a mosquito net
  3. Check whether you need to take malaria prevention tablets
  4. Diagnosis- seek immediate medical advice if you have malaria symptoms up to a year after you return from travelling

It’s a race against the clock and we need to eliminate it before malaria becomes untreatable again and we see a lot of deaths. Around 700,000 people a year die from drug-resistant infections, including malaria and if nothing is done, this could increase to millions of people every year by 2050.

You can help reduce this number by doing something as simply as this donating to a charity organisation such as ‘Malaria No More UK’. Many people in these countries are unable to afford to buy mosquito nets and sufficient treatment and by donating to organisation which help provide these things, it can make a huge impact.

You can help make a difference while we find a cure for ‘super malaria’.




Do I have to?

So lately I’ve not been feeling too great and have been down with an ear infection! Annoying right? Well I went to the doctors and I was prescribed with a course of antibiotics for around 5 days, however now (day 3) I am feeling completely better… So why do I have to keep taking this medication? Why can’t I stop taking the antibiotics when I feel better rather than finishing the course?

Many of us know that finishing the course early does not kill all the bacteria and so those resistant bacteria are given the chance to reproduce rapidly and so it will mean that antibiotics will have no effect in the future. However the idea that stopping treatment early encourages antibiotic resistance is not supported by evidence, while taking antibiotics for longer than necessary increases the risk of resistance….

So yes, for common bacterial infections, no evidence exists that stopping antibiotic treatment early increases a patients risk of resistant infection. If patients are being put at unnecessary risk from antibiotic resistance when treatment is given for longer than necessary, then why do we continue to let this happen?

There is not enough evidence to fully back either case…  So what do you think? Should we complete the full course of antibiotics or is it pointless if your feeling better already?

ACID ATTACKS!!!- how to help

The number of acid attacks in London has been growing and growing recently and there were 454 attacks recorded from 2016, greatly contrasting to the 162 attacks in 2012. In the past, the majority of the attacks were related to robberies whereas now it appears that acid is now being used as a substitute for carrying knives, and many of them now linked to gang related crimes.

Carrying corrosive substances now is legal with no restrictions on the volume or strength of them, although. change in legalisation is being considered and in my opinion this should be fast traced to ensure that carrying corrosive substances becomes a criminal offence.

Bystanders who come to the aid of the victim of an acid attack can have an important role in minimising further injury. This is what you should try to do…

  1. Remove the victim from exposure as soon as possible
  2. Wash the victim with as much water as possible (a hose is suggested) on the person as it is vital to remove the chemicals and this should be done as soon as possible to minimise the long term effects of scaring and need for surgical reconstruction.

It’s vital that we do as much as possible to educate people on updated first aid skills, in particular people who live in London or visit frequently where it is more common, as basic knowledge of what to do when something such as an acid attack happens can help a lot. It’s imperative that more vigorous laws are introduced in places where these corrosive acids are sold and on who can buy them in order to minimise the risk of these attacks in the first place. I sincerely hope that we are never put in the situation of being a bystander to a victim of an acid attack but if we are, do hope that you would now be able to help.