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a VirtualTourist member



what are the best precautions to avoid mosquitoes in your room. considering a two week break in January. Do we need medication before we arrive. Do most hotels provide nets around the beds. is it wise to have recommended jabs.


8 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Province of Ontario

You are asking us amateurs here on VT for medical advice. This is not a good plan. I would suggest you ask a doctor who deals with travel medicine for specific advice. There are no jabs for malaria or dengue fever. Malaria prophylaxis is in tablet form and dengue you have to avoid, as there is no preventative medication and if you catch it, your immune system will have to work on its own.

We are travelling to a malarial zone in a few weeks and are equipped with mosquito spray (DEET 35%), light coloured clothing, long pants and long sleeved shirts as well as anti-malarials medication. The best thing to do is to avoid being bitten, and for malaria, the highest risk is dawn or dusk. The dengue carriers are active during the daytime.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from England

We have been visiting The Gambia for the last five years sometimes twice a year. We have had all the jabs and always take anti-malaria tablets with us. Your doctor will take you through the pros and cons of the tablets as some do have bad side effects we choose a tablet with the least side effects but it the most expensive thinking what the hell it's our holiday!!. We always take mosquito spray (such as raid) for our room and you can buy spray in the shops anyway. We also take a plug in such as jungle formula which as proved to be quite effective, especially in the more basic hotels. As yet we haven't stayed in one hotel or apartment that has had bed nets, although it may have changed now but these include Palma Rima (3 visits 5years ago)Sunset Beach (4years ago)Mansea Beach (3 years ago)Kololi Beach Club (last year) Cape Point Hotel, Kololi Beach Club, Kombo Beach March and April, May this year. The Gambia is one of our favourite places you just need to exercise due diligence as in any Country. Hope this helps with your question.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Yokadouma

Hello there,
Prevention is better than cure and I know what I talk about. The Gambia is a country where malaria is always a risk. Provide yourself with an impregnated mosquito net, insect repellent with a high deet percentage (50%) and of course malaria tablets such as Lariam or Malarone.
Wear long sleeves and trousers from dusk till dawn and as they said light colours are the best. When you return home, the best thing you could do is giving all you equipment to a local.
It could save a life!
Have fun and happy travels

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Hamburg

you are travelling in the dry season, but still there is a risk. Lariam and Malarone are very expensive. I prefer Doxicyclin. But no meds can prevent malaria, they can only suppress the symptoms. Better ask a doc who is experienced.If you have any doubts whether you caught malara, theres no need to go to a hospital. Most pharmacies can test your blood.
I always use cream for the skin to avoid bites.

I have been to the Gamba 14 times, but never caught malaria. But I'm aware it can happen. But you should also consider yeööow fever, tetanus, hepatitis. (Sorry, I'm not aware of the correct translation in English)

I never heared about a higher risk of dengue, to be honest.

Anyway, I wish you a great time!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Province of Ontario

Jigeen - your answer is the reason I always suggest posters to see a medical professional is that the answers from amateurs do not always the best advice. I am not a medical professional, so I will only give answers based on my experience with medical professionals...

1. The anti- malarial drugs definitely prevent malaria. They are the same medications that are used to cure malaria if you have caught it.

2. Mosquitos in different parts of the world have developed resistance to different anti-malarials, so a knowledgable medical professional can help one make the best choice for the region one is visiting. I would agree that these medications cannot provide a 100% gaurantee that you will not get malaria, but they reduce the risk. If you do have flu-like symptoms when you return home, letting the doctors know that you have been to a malarial zone will get them to test for malaria.

3. I know two people that have caught malaria in Africa. One from Canada and one from Germany. Both were hospitalized after they got home. The Canadian got his in "dry season" when the risk was low. Remember malaria kills almost 800 000 people a year...

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Hamburg

GrumpyDiver, definately there is no prevention from Malaria, that means in the sense like a vaccnaion. What these meds do is, to treat Malaria, so when you catch it symptoms might not be so critical. At the same time exactly that can lead to a situation where the diagnosis is mre difficult. And i did advice to see a docter who is experienced!

By the way, Doxicyclin is not advanced as prevention in Germany, but on the list of WHO and was advised to me in a clinic that is specialised for tropical deseases. And since it is not a standard like e.g. Chloroquin, it should be considered also, because resistances do exist on many so called preventions. So this doctor in the clinic advised me to take Doxy since he worked in Senegal for a couple of years.

Once again, the advise of a user can never replace the advise of an expert, but I think this is clear to everybody. But without this advise from other people I would not have known about this alternative to discuss the pros and cons with him.

Clearer now?

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Province of Ontario

Again, let's agree to disagree on this one and in some ways, you are splitting hairs here. To me, something that eliminates the cause of an illness and prevents the symptoms is what this is all about.

No preventative medication works before the agent causing the illness enters the body. A vaccine primes the immune system to recognize and destroy the virus after it enters your body. Some vaccines are 100% effective and you have no symptoms, while other have a partial effect and you don't get as sick as you would have without the vaccination.

Anti-malarials do not use the immune system to destroy the parasite, but rather act on the parasite itself. The malaria parasite has two stages in its life cycle. In the first stage the parasite lives and reproduces in the liver and later on it enters a second stage and lives and reprodcues in the red blood cells. Drugs like Doxycycline only work when the parasite is in it's blood phase, but has no effect on the liver stage. This is why you have to use it for four weeks after leaving the malarial zone. I suspect that this is your arguement, as the parasite actually lives and matures in the body.

Drugs like Malarone work differently than this and act during both the liver and blood phases, which is why you only need to use it for a week after leaving the malarial area, as you don't have to wait for the parasite to get to the blood phase before it is destroyed. I would say that this medication is something that prevents malaria. This medication is what our doctor prescribed for a trip to Namibia next month.

The travel medicine doctor I see nicely explained all this to me, and like the one you see, spent some time working in Africa. He also admitted that anti-malarials do not work 100% of the time and should we come down with flu-like symptoms that last more than a week, even a year after our return, we should tell the doctors that we have travelled through a malarial zone so that they test for that.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Yokadouma

I fully agree with GrumpyDivers’ answer, it is quit complete.
The discussion about what is prevention is subordinatey when you talk about health questions.

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