Help me sort through malaria information
Replies: 29 - Last Post: Feb 23, 2012 8:45 PM Last Post By: nutraxfornerves
Jan 21, 2012 1:41 PM
Help me sort through malaria informationWe're traveling to Namibia, Botswana, Vic Falls, and SA in March - so rainy season, aka mosquito season. I'll have my twin 7 yos in tow. We will be going up to the north - Etosha, Chobe... We're camping a bit in the desert in the south but we'll be in hotels in the north.
Our doctors won't even talk about malaria with us and paying out of pocket for the travel doctor was a bit much. I don't want to gamble with our health though - especially not my kids' health - I just felt like I was going to feel ripped off of those hundreds of dollars if we went in and they were like, eh, don't bother with malaria pills. Oh, really? Great. Thanks for taking our cash. So what's the real risk? Do most people traveling take the malaria pills or not? And what's the best option for which malaria pills to take?
Jan 21, 2012 2:22 PM
1I get big problems if I use Malaria tablets. So I can't use the stuff. I use Lariam. You use Lariam after getting Malaria. The stuff is heavy but it actually works.
An older friend of mine got Malaria when he was often in Katanga and in Angola in former years. He still gets a few times Malaria attacks per year. Then he is completely paralyzed. So having Malaria is not funny at all.
Jan 21, 2012 3:48 PM
2You will be in a Mosquito area so you NEED to take your malaria tablets. It that simple!
You also need to find a doctor who can talk to you and advise you on what to take.
On this branch we have a very well informed woman who knows about malaria, the type of tabs you need, the side effects and most importantly the sensible sugestions that she dishes out.
Her TT name is Nutrax and if she doesnt respond to this then find her on here and PM her.
Your doctors are quite recalcitrant in their dealings with you IMO. You need advice, its up to them to give it.
Cheers and all the best.
Jan 21, 2012 3:52 PM
3Yeah, I know it's serious business to get malaria. There's just so many different pills and the side effects aren't anything to mess with either. I'd rather not be sick for my whole trip - or deal with sick kids from meds either. I already know doxycycline, for example (the antibiotic you can take) makes me feel wretched. When the risk is listed as "very low" for these countries, do most people take the pills? Here in the states, mosquitos are out all day now (the dreadful "tiger" ones never sleep), but in Botswana if we retreat inside at night and bathe in DEET as some things I've seen say, is that actually enough?
Jan 21, 2012 4:06 PM
4Long sleeves, long trousers, DEET, mozzie nets all combat them of course but the little blighters always manage to find the bit you missed and if thats a malarial mozzie then you are up shits creek!
You have choices like Mefloquine (Larium, can give some people headaches and nightmares), Malarone( has fewer side effects but expensive) and Doxycyline as you know which is an antibiotic.
Look, the best thing to do in the early stages is wait for or look for Nutrax to respond. I am not a medical person and know very little on a very important and life threatening subject.
BUT, as anyone who travels in Africa in a malarial zone knows, you NEED to take your tablets. We have had people on this branch die from not taking them. Every traveller will tell you the same as I have.
Jan 21, 2012 4:47 PM
5DEET only protects you if you use it every 2 hours and if you cover the whole body with it.
Long, windproof trekking trousers also are mosquito proof. Micro-textile t-shirts also are mosquito proof. They are expensive, though.
Mosquitos usually don't appear before late afternoon. Around 5 pm.
Jan 21, 2012 5:19 PM
I have allways taken Larium, and had no side effects.
I also went to Senegal, got bitten by something and it still itches!
I really can not understand why a doctor will not talk about malaria.
It could soon re-appear in the US.
Jan 21, 2012 8:51 PM
7Simsy, you flatter me!
phoenix32, I'll get back to you--I need to look up a few things. Short version--you need antimalarials for Botswana.
Jan 22, 2012 2:26 AM
8Nutrax will get back to you but I don't understand your comment that there are so many different pills - basically there are 3:
Mefloquine (Lariam) - once a week in malarial area, 2w before and 4w after - middle cost
Malarone - once a day, a couple of days before, one a day in malarial area and 7d after, high cost
Doxycycline - daily, can't remember the before and after info but similar to Malarone - low cost
Mefloquine has psychological side effects in 10%(?) of people and Doxy has sun sensitivity side effects - obviously it goes without saying that a side effect of malaria is death.
Jan 22, 2012 6:45 AM
Lariam is a brand name for mefloquine. It is also sold as Mefliam, Mephaquin and many other brand names. Although it can be used to treat malaria it is more commonly used to prevent it. so it is indeed a "malaria pill."
Jan 22, 2012 7:07 AM
I hope nobody minds if I ask my own question, didn't want to open a new thread.
We'll be in Etosha from 7-11 of May, since that's only 5 days I was hoping to get by with Doom and
Sleep Well, I don't need side effects like halluzinations while driving a rental car, after that we will
go south in Namibia.
I will talk to my docotor before leaving, but my dad bought anti malaria pills before going to SA only
to be told there that he can throw them away because the moskitos are resistend agains them.
I thought if it really hits me I could take Lariam after the fact, any thoughts?
We're staying in lodges the whole time in Etosha.
Edited by: tempelton
Jan 22, 2012 9:40 AM
First, not all antimalarials cause those kinds of side effects. That's most often associated with mefloquine (Lariam). About a third of users have neuoropsychiatric problems. Not hallucinations for most, but mainly trouble sleeping and vivid dreams that can range from merely weird to outright nightmares. Some people have problems with dizziness.
Yes, there is risk of malaria in Etosha. For a 5-day trip, you might find that atovaquone-proguanil (Malarone, Malanil) works for you, as you only have to take it for a week after leaving instead of a month like other antimalarials. There are few reported side effects--stomach pain is the most common. People have reported vivid dreams.
First, it is not the mosquitoes that become resistant ot antimalarial drugs; it is the malaria parasites. The mosquitoes are just the carriers. Malaria in southern Africa is not resistant to the drugs mentioned above.
Let me refer you to good information in German. Fit for Travel - Alles zu Reisemedizin They recommend antimalarials for Etosha during July-October. However, you may have some personal health reason why you would be at risk of serious complications should you get malaria, so would need to discuss with your doctor the need to take something at other times of the year.
Jan 23, 2012 3:32 AM
Jan 23, 2012 10:01 AM
13Nutrax. unfortunately it´s the opposite of what you say. July to October is dry as a bone in Namibia and the website you mentioned also says the risk decreases in those months so they recommend antimalarials for the rest of the year.
Personally I will never understand how people are willing to spend thousands of dollars for leisure travel but are too thrifty to spend money for professional advice on a life-threatening and common disease. I doubt it could be hundreds of dollars just for a prescription of antimalarials but even if so, it is money wisely invested if you have a doctor who knows what he is talking about.
Personally I take Lariam and I am very happy with it. I think it is stupid to go to the tropics with a drug that makes your skin sensitive to light. Also I like the once-weekly schedule of Lariam. I have absolutely not the slightest side effects from it. Stay clear if you have mental problems though.
Jan 23, 2012 1:30 PM
14Thank you guys so much! Especially Nutrax, who obviously is your resident expert. :)
It does come to hundreds for us - the travel clinic is $200 and when I added up the cost of the pills (for the mefloquine, anyway - the others were a lot more) according to their site, it's $252 for all of us for the time we'd need to take them. The doxycycline would be less - if it's covered by our insurance (which it might be), that would only be $10 apiece for my husband and I, so I may just have to suck up the side effects. When I took it, it made me throw up every morning for a week and I ended up discontinuing it, so I hope you can understand why seeing that with the side effects made me begin dreading a trip I've otherwise been really looking forward to. More than $500 is a pretty big extra expense, but of course I'm going to pay it if we need it.
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