Travel Health Zone - Ask the Doctor - Questions

home The travel health website for travellers
tours & transferstravel healthvisa informationoverland traveltravel shop
contact Uncover the Worldhelp & questionssearch Uncover the World websitee-mail this pageUncover the World network
Home > Ask the Doctor > Questions
home


BEFORE YOU GO

>
Country List

>
Scuba Diving

>
Fear of Flying

>
Immunisations

>
Packing Drugs

WHILE ABROAD

>
Malaria

>
Food & Drink

>
Blood

>
Diarrhoea

>
Water

>
Altitude

>
Infant Safety

>
More Articles

BACK HOME

>
Check up?

COMMERCIAL

>
Directory

GENERAL

>
Ask the Doctor

>
Newsletter

OUR TOURS

>
Adventure Holidays

>
Egypt Tours

>
Jordan Tours

>
Nepal Tours

>
Bhutan Tours

>
Tibet Tours

>
Thailand Tours

>
Fishing Holidays

>
Batstone Restoration Roofing




Is there a good alternative to standard antimalarial medication - 2000

Question: I visited Ghana for the first time last year and had the most memorable trip of my life. For various reasons I want to go back soon, but I have a little problem that I hope you can assist me with, medication! I am not in favour of taking medication in any form and my experience with the tablets I took as a precaution against malaria was disastrous - I was constipated for most of my trip. Do you have an alternative? I heard about citronella soap but I guess that is not enough protection. Please advise as I would like to return to that beautiful country soon.

Answer: Thanks for this interesting question, it is one that I am being asked more and more recently by travellers to Africa. Is there a good alternative to standard antimalarial medication? Well, the basis of taking all medication, is does the benefits of taking the tablets outweigh the side effects of the tablets. If the answer to that is "yes" then we suggest you take the treatment or in the case of your trip , the antimalarials. Malaria in West Africa is common and can often be deadly. There are 4 strains worldwide, one of which, falciparum malaria, exists where you are going. The problem with this strain is that it is deadly and can kill you quickly after contracting it by causing a massive stroke as the brains blood vessels are blocked by the red blood cells that have been infected by the malarial parasite.

I don't mean to scare you here, but just want to put the fact across that malaria is a serious illness that you should do everything to prevent, and not like other simple illnesses like an ear infection which will get better whether you take antibiotics or not.

Having said that, taking the tablets won't guarantee absolute prevention of the illness.

We always advise that you must do all to stop the mossies from biting you in the first place, and this is where the homeopathic alternatives are given consideration.

We doctors normally recommend a substance called DEET, which is sprayed on the skin to stop them from biting. This can also be sprayed on your mosquito net which you should always use. Other alternatives or additions to DEET, which some people find irritant, are garlic perle capsules. These seem to work by being sweated out onto the skin and the mossies finding that you don't seem to smell as tasty as the next person. Citronella soap must work in the same way.

Bite prevention also extends to your clothing and nocturnal habits. Try to wear long sleeved shirts and long trousers, and remember that they come out at dusk near stagnant water, so try to avoid romantic strolls at sundown near the sewage works!

You need to ask your doctor which are the best tablets to take before you go, and with all of the tablets, you need to take them for a week before leaving.

There is some good news for you though. You may have got constipation with the chloroquine/paludrine and I know many travellers are averse to taking mefloquine due to its psychological side effects. There is a new tablet called "malarone" available that seems to be well tolerated by travellers, it's not available on the NHS yet but we can prescribe it privately to anyone that contacts us.

So do please take antimalarials in Ghana, and also do all you can to stay unbitten, then you'll be okay to enjoy it's beauty again.


Dr Jules Eden

Dr Jules Eden
MBBs BSc MRCGP




first48
Information published on this website is not a substitute for professional medical care or advice but should be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A Doctor should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

terms of usedotprivacy policydotaffiliates and jobsdotabout Uncover the World
Copyright © 2009 Uncover the World Limited. All rights reserved. Contact the webmaster. All maps & flags copyright © Uncover the World.