I think I´d always been a little jealous of those other travellers I'd met who'd claimed to have had it, I felt a little inauthentic! I wanted a hardcore story of tropical illness. I wanted that cache! I now have it, but at the cost of one of the worst weeks of my life.
So, my question is; who here has had Malaria (or any other nasty tropical bug)?
(Mr. Ed Vallance, I know you have but please respond as yours is a cracking story)! Reply to this
I also hope they treated you with primaquine - it's the stuff that stops malaria recurring. You should take one drug that kills the malaria, and primaquine to kill the stuff that stays in your liver. It can only be combined with certain anti-malarials though. For example the first time I had malaria they treated me with primaquine and mefloquine, which doesn't work. Hence I had my second bout of malaria 6 months later. Luckily whereas my first bout had been "complicated" malaria and nearly killed me, my second bout was not "complicated" and was just like having a VERY nasty fever. Also some hospitals may not know that malaria contracted in south east asia requires a dose of primaquine 1.5 times larger than normal to get rid of it. Reply to this
With my folks in Spain right now, enjoying my last few days of freedom before the world of work beckons. Can't wait!! Reply to this
Peter Reply to this
That doesn't sound pleasant. I have been looking into anitmalariels recently and wasn't totally decided about taking them or not. Can I ask, Scott, where did you likely catch it? Where you using antimalariels and deet?
Thanks Reply to this
The best web site is Centers for Disease Control in USA (CDC), they have a detailed section on travellers health, and you can find out if there is any need for profylaxis.
The risk of getting serious malaria (that is deadly) is greater if you come as a tourist to an area where there is malaria, as people living there develop a kind of immunity over time, although they still get new infections.
This is a very serious matter and you should not rely on information from friends but from health personell who knows the subject.
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In my case, I will, of course, be getting professional advice. Just wondering what Scott's situation was. Reply to this
We tried every bug repellent and oil we could get our hands on, but I was still covered in welts all over my arms and legs.
About a week and a half ago I came down with a fever of 102.2F and started to freak out because I haven't had a fever since I was a kid. I felt terrible, body aches, migraine, the works, and had to drive 45 minutes to the only place around here that tests for malaria. Fortunately the test came back negative and they told me I most likely had the Swine, but they don't regularly test for it anymore.
I hope to never get it. I don't need malaria to feel like an authentic traveler ;) Reply to this
I plan on posing the question to my travel clinic whether it is worth taking the pills or not but I am sure the answer will be yes because they legally won't be allowed to say no, so thats why I am also asking 'real' travellers
Reminds us of the argument we had with the travel nurse about Yellow Fever vaccination. Neil ended up arguing with her for about an hour about the chances of contracting yellow fever while we were only in that area for two days and he ended up extrapolating the data and statistics for her so she could understand what we were arguing. Disclaimer here that Neil is medically trained and also has a PhD in Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology so he actually knew more than the nurse we were arguing with.
It's not just that travel clinics legally have to tell you to take them, it's your own choice whether you do but the travel clinics in the UK take too much stock in anti-malarial advice which is sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies who also happen to supply the anti-malarial drugs! We have never taken anti-malarials, we have just been ultra-careful wherever we go. If we were going to go to an area where it really was endemic then we would definitely take them, it's just where we have been so far malaria hasn't been a high risk.
Our friend came to visit us in October and took anti-malarials when they really weren't necessary and they had really weird effects on his appetite, sleeping patterns and he was just feeling weird in general. Most anti-malarials are very strong broad spectrum antibiotics and there are a lot of side effects that need to be considered. For example, doxycycline can cause a heightened sensitivity to the sun, which isn't any fun at all when you are in a hot country as you can burn very easily, it can also cause your nails to fall out and upset stomach. You need to carefully weigh the risks of malaria against the side effects of the pills, as well as actually remembering to actually take the pills at the correct intervals - you need to start them a certain amount of time before you reach a malarial area and keep taking them. The likes of doxy also severely effect the contraceptive pill too.
Really sorry that you got malaria, Scott...we hope we never have to experience that - when we are ill we always keep a close watch on the symptoms!
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On our last travels we stocked up on anti-malarials (doxy) in Australia, took them for about a week, forgot a few, the packet got forgotten about and we'd wasted all that money on drugs we never used, honestly, If I was female I would be soooo rubbish at taking any kind of oral contraceptive. If it was just us travelling again now, I wouldn't take the drugs... I'm super paranoid about getting bitten anyway (I'm one of those people that bugs just seem to love, Faye remains untouched while I get destroyed), so I'd just smother myself in a good repellent, morning. noon and night.
Now I'm faced with the conundrum of what the hell to do with my kids. They're really just babies so will have to be weighed and the dosages measured out. Do I really want to be dosing up my kids daily with something that might have horrible side effects? Side effects they can't articulate to us, as they have no idea what they are... My youngest can't even talk!
On the other hand, do I want to run the risk of either of them getting Malaria???? Tough choices... I'm going to see what the healthcare professionals advise when we get anywhere that's high risk (like Sumatra, where we do intend on going at some point). Reply to this
Parts of the Philippines and many areas in Indonesia do hold a much higher risk, places such as these, especially if only visiting for a short while, would surely be safer with some Doxy in your system. We, when actually using them, can report no serious side effects from these pills and, as a bonus, they can prevent Delhi belly and various other tropical nasties, such as infections from ticks.
Tina and Rob, how long are you travelling for? Where exactly do you plan to go? Reply to this
If you click on me, theres a list of where I am going on my profile. Its all the usual places really, nothing too out the way. Reply to this
We agree completely with Scott about considering not taking them for the whole of SE Asia, we had been told before we left the only really endemic areas were the Thai-Myanmar border and the Thai-Cambodian border (from Aranya Prathet north), the jungles of Laos and now we can add the Banyak archipelago to that from Scott's experience!
It's definitely a personal decision to make whether you feel comfortable taking the risk or not. Just make the decision based on your research and general traveller consensus - try not to get scared by the travel clinic staff as they do tend to paint the worse case scenario with these things!
Do I really want to be dosing up my kids daily with something that might have horrible side effects?
Neil has some opinions on this - do you want us to e-mail you his thoughts? Reply to this
Neil has some opinions on this - do you want us to e-mail you his thoughts?
Yes please! Althouh I think it's going to confirm what I think anyway. Reply to this
I started a similar thread on Thorn Tree and got flamed beyond belief for even asking (thats one mental forum!).
I've only asked one question on that forum about taking my kids on the trans-Mongolian in march and whether I should buy tickets on the go or in advance. I was told I was a fool for even considering taking children on a journey like that, especially when it's cold.
Well, we've just done it, march wasn't that cold at all and there were loads of kids on the train, granted they were all local, but a kid is a kid. Sadly there's a lot of good advice on TT but you need to wade through all the over enthusiastic opinionated idiots to get to it.