A MALARONE CONFESSION
A MALARONE CONFESSION
We recently returned from a trip to Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe- Victoria Falls area. We must have been on at least a dozen tours where there was a Malaria risk and have always taken medicine, usually Malarone or whichever Malaria medication is recommended for the region of the world we are visiting.
Namibia has virtually eradicated Malaria, so we decided to start the medication once we were in Namibia. The general rule is to start taking it two days before you go to the Malaria area. We decided that the Malarone would be working well in our systems before we got to Botswana and Zimbabwe where Malaria remains endemic. Our tour company recommended that we take Malaria preventing medication, a difference to when we travel with Tauck, they gloss over that, pushing the responsibility over to us and the CDC website or our doctor to decide for us.
We took the medication with our evening meal which we have always done as it is easier to remember then for us and we eat more food than at breakfast and at a more consistent time. .The notes for Malarone stress taking it at least with milk, the idea being that the fattier the food, the less chance of digestive problems.
Within the first couple of days, I experienced nausea,.Then my husband started with some diarrhea, then hours later, so did I. At first we thought it might have been oysters we had eaten, but they were so fresh and bad oysters usually cause vomiting and within a short time. My hubby was not too bad and his resolved somewhat in a couple of days. I got worse, much worse, and our TD was convinced it was the Malaria meds.
There were six of us on the tour, two were nurses like me, they wanted me to start my emergency Cipro, I was a bit reluctant but stopped the Malerone and began the recommended three days course for traveler’s diarrhea. Within twenty four hours it had improved. I spent a day in our hotel room and missed two safari drives including the only cheetah sitings of our tour.☹️
My husband stopped his Malaria meds but did not take the Cipro. He has to be very careful taking antibiotics as in the past, he took them and they wiped out his gut biome and he became seriously ill. After about four days, my husband recommenced his Malarone ready for our Botswana part of the trip. I did not. Within a short time, his diarrhea kicked in again. Darn, it was the Malarone, he stopped it again.
We always wear long pants and long sleeved T shirts in Malaria areas and use Deet. Spray on our ankles and cream near our faces. I was still scared of being bitten. Last time, we were on the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls, there were lots of mosquitoes, even in our room. Mosquitoes carry other diseases, like yellow fever, dengue fever and the one I can never remember how to spell……. So it really is a good idea to keep yourself covered up.
Everyone els on the tour was taking Malaria meds and had no issues.
If we develop a fever within the next year, we will have to keep the possibility of Malaria at the back of our minds.
We already have two more tours booked to areas where Malaria is endemic. Will we take Malaria meds? I don’t know!