My Doctor Said ‘Malaria.’

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I can attest that being a pharmacist definitely has it perks and problems. One perk is the amount of knowledge I have when it comes to both prescription and nonprescription drugs. One MAJOR problem is I know TOO much to the point where I am a physician’s worst patient. While I’ll agree to testing and examinations recommended, I am not so willing to take pills. Imagine my resistance to my physician’s plea for me to not just consider, but to actually take ‘for real for real’ antimalarial pills for my 2 week stay in Honduras.

What are ‘for real for real’ antimalarial pills you ask? An example would be Doxycycline vs Malarone.  Doxycycline, an antibiotic, has several indications, ie, treating acne, skin infections, lyme disease in addition to preventing malaria. Malarone is used to treat AND prevent malaria, thus it’s a ‘for real for real’ antimalarial pill.

I’ve taken Doxycycline in the past for a previous trip to Honduras, but I was only there briefly. The instructions were for me to take it at least 2 days before arrival and continue for the next 28 days after departure, but like I said earlier, I don’t like taking pills. Right before I left the country, I stopped taking them. Plus the side effects, ie, sun burn, yeast infections, nausea/vomiting, etc were not what I wanted to deal with while away.

Staying for 2 weeks in a CDC-warned malaria area of Honduras was a bit more challenging, though. I had to look at the facts and totally ignore my feelings.

Fact one:   Mosquitoes love me.
Fact two:    I hate mosquitoes
Fact three: Mosquitoes love me despite my hate for them and this increased my chance of acquiring malaria.

Image courtesy of [SweetCrisis] http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of [SweetCrisis] http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

I had a choice to make- prevent malaria or possibly contract malaria. Facing reality and reading about victims of this disease, I decided, albeit reluctantly, to wave the white flag to my physician and fill her prescription of (my choice) Malarone. I figured that the inconvenience of taking a tablet at the same time daily with possible minor side effects here and there was definitely worth not hearing my doctor say ‘you have malaria,’ which can be fatal.

Have you taken anti-malarials in the past? Why or why not?

Are you planning a trip out of the U.S.? Unsure if you will be entering a high risk malarial country? Need help deciding which prophylaxis would be appropriate for you? Check out the links below so that you and your health care provider can make an informed decision about your health and well-being concerning this matter.

http://www.cdc.gov/MALARIA/

http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/malaria.aspx



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14 thoughts on “My Doctor Said ‘Malaria.’

  1. I had to take Malaria pills when I went on a trip to the Amazon in Brazil. I can’t recall what kind they were, but, they did cause me to be a bit paranoid. I did NOT like how I felt when I was taking them. I skipped them on a recent trip to Vietnam even though I was in the Mekong Delta region because I was just there for a day. I wore long pants and a long shirt and pretty much took a bath in Deet that I purchased off the internet. Like you, “skeeters” love me – but I did find a trick that seems to work if you can stomach it. If you take 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar every day for about two weeks before your trip, you shouldn’t get bitten. I did this for the Amazon trip moreso to prevent unsightly bites since I was already taking malaria meds. It worked!

    1. Hmmm, I didn’t know Apple Cider Vinegar taken internally would help ward off mosquitoes. This is good to know. I know you diluted it, but do you remember with how much liquid?

  2. mosquitos love me! My husband and I can stand side by side and they will be covering me with the occasion one stopping by him before ending up on me! I’ve been overseas a lot. When we moved to the middle east I had 17 different shots!. Be safe take your pills, illness will ruin a trip in a big way! xo Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop. xo

    1. Katherine, what is it about us that makes these critters attached to us? I heard a repellant is garlic and I eat lots of it, but the blood suckers keep on a’coming!

  3. I have known people who have both gotten Malaria (Brendan Van Son of Brendan’s Adventures seems to have it every time I check his blog!) and taken the meds and have been sick from them. Seems like there is really no great option, but maybe feeling a little under the weather from the meds is better than REALLY under the weather with Malaria…

    1. Geez, that’s absolutely horrible for him!!!
      I know you are correct about taking the meds and possibly experiencing some side effects is better than contracting malaria.

  4. The hubby and I will be visiting his home country of Cameroon next year and I don’t want to think about all the shots I will need. Here’s the list:
    1. Yellow Fever (You can’t enter the country without a yellow card)
    2. Hepatitis A
    3. Typhoid
    4. Polio (I was part of the generation that got the shots when I was young)
    5. Malaria( no shot but pills).
    6. Meningitis (Meningococcal disease)

    In Cameroon, they have all 4 malarial parasites with Falciparum malaria being the most deadly. So as you can see, I don’t look forward to doing this especially the yellow fever shot because IT’S PAINFUL.

    1. MY GOODNESS!!! That’s a lot. What shot schedule’s recommended because I know you won’t get all of them at the same time.

  5. The mosquitos in Texas love my blood!! I’ve never been attacked like that before! It drove me nuts. I have yet to travel to a country where I need to worry about taking such preventative medication, but I can assure you I most definitely would!
    Love having you on the Medical Monday grid! Thanks for joining us this month to celebrate our year anniversary!!

    1. *Waves at you, Emma!*
      What precautions have you implemented to keep those critters away?
      Congrats on your year’s anniversary! *thumbsup*

    1. They get you, too, Samuel? I see you travel to Asia a bit and I was wondering if you were immune to the bites now. Do you take anything to prevent malaria?

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