Of course the answer to that is a resounding yes, but just the same, the preventatives seem to be pretty harsh in all sorts of ways in their own right. I got a call from my travel pal who had gotten the brilliant idea of maybe taking a trip to Borneo. I slapped my self in the face and said â€œWhat?â€ She said â€œYeah I found a pretty good deal on the Internet.
You really want to see Orangutans that bad?â€ â€You know the place isnâ€™t exactly chock full of the four and five star accommodations you hold so dear.â€
She said, â€œOh, it will be ok, we will think about it.
And that was what I started to do. I had read somewhere that there were parts of that island where at least 120 mosquito bites and hour had been recorded, which then got me to thinking about malaria prophylaxis. It hasnâ€™t been an issue for the last couple of trips Iâ€™ve been on, but it certainly has in the past. Thereâ€™s a huge difference of opinion on what is the best and most effective course for staying malaria free. Obviously the basic one comes to mind. Donâ€™t get bitten by mosquitoes, duh. But just in case you may have forgotten here are some others.
Limit time spent outdoors at dawn and dusk, when many mosquitoes are most active
Â· Wear light-colored protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat when outdoors in areas where mosquitoes are present
Â· A long sleeve shirt with snug collar and cuffs is best. The shirt should be tucked in at the waist. Socks should be tucked over pants, hiking shoes, or boots
Â· Light colored clothing is best because mosquitoes tend to be more attracted to dark colors
Â· When going outdoors use insect repellents that contain DEET or other approved ingredients
Â· Make sure that door and window screens fit tightly and have no holes that may allow mosquitoes indoors
Â· To avoid insect bites, do not use scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your children
And then there are the medications. This tends to be where the real debate comes up. Itâ€™s not bad enough that depending on just where it is youâ€™ll be going the varieties of Plasmodium can be resistant to certain medications, but then you have to consider positives and negatives of the medications themselves. Some are very expensive (Malarone) others make you kooky (Lariam) and others affect your skin and if youâ€™re a woman and on birth control pills knock down their effectiveness (Deoxycycline). And for all of them there is a limit as to how long you should take them. A vaccine is in the works but it isnâ€™t quite there yet and there are also some new drugs in the works. Almost all you would ever really want to know can be read on these two very good sites.
This also makes for an extremely good case as to why one should take the time and see a competent travel medicine physician. They can review where it is youâ€™ll be going and recommend what will work best for you. Me Iâ€™m a Lariam guy. My guy Jim has more than once stated that â€œOh itâ€™s only one in ten to fifteen thousand that has the bad reactions to Lariam.â€ Well on one hand I wonâ€™t exactly say my reactions have been bad per say but it did seem like every morning at breakfast Moz and I would be swapping our previous evenings experiences with sleep.
Yeah damn man last night I had this dream I was like a tuna and I was caught in a net, next thing I know I was struggling and then I woke up and was all tangled up in my mosquito net.â€ â€œI hear you, I was at happy hour at the bar and was telling everybody how cool Africa was and then I was like well I have to go back there now.â€ â€œAnd it was all so very Technicolor vivid!â€
But all in all it wasnâ€™t ever too horrible. Just lots of wacky dreams, although I have heard more than one horror story. Mostly these came from people that had to take it for more than three months at a time. This in fact brought me to my greatest concern of a trip to Borneo or any other malarial zone with this particular friend. How in the hell would Lariam affect her? I couldnâ€™t help but think of the scene in the Clint Eastwood movie â€œPlay Misty for meâ€ where good old Clint suddenly wakes up in his bed to see his ex girlfriend /stalker staring down at him with a large chefs knife in hand.
I think Iâ€™ll try to talk her into the Costa del Sol.