Are Malaria Pills Worth It?

Malaria is a tropical disease spread by mosquitos. It is caused a by the protozoan parasite that is transferred by mosquito bites.  Symptoms vary from mild fever to fatal brain damage and coma.  No One knows how seriously they will be affected by the condition so preventative treatments are required.  Often people are concerned about the side effects of the treatment and question if they are necessary.  This is because treatments have been known to cause hallucinations and depression.  

Malaria is life-threatening and not taking medication is a huge risk that travellers are advised not to take.  It is in any traveller’s best interests to find out everything they can about possible treatments so that they can choose one best suited to them.

Malaria Treatments

There are three main treatments for malaria; Doxycycline, Atovaquone/Proguanil, and Malarone. Although their purpose is the same the extent of the side effects and cost vary significantly.  Each of them needs to be taken before, during and after your trip in order to be effective.  Here are the most common treatments available.

Doxycycline

Part of the tetracycline antibiotics family, doxycycline is fairly cheap and only needs to be taken two days before your trip.  You continue to take it during your holiday and for four weeks when you return.  Some people may suffer photosensitive skin reactions, which can cause issues if you are traveling somewhere hot and sunny.  It is not recommended to pregnant women or children under twelve.  If you use the contraceptive pill as a means of birth control it can reduce its effectiveness.

Atovaquone/ Proguanil and Malarone

Are antimalarials,  which produce fewer side effects than older malaria treatments.  It only has to be taken two days before travelling.  It is to be taken while on holiday and for seven days when you get back.  Side effects are very similar to most medications including; a headache, feeling sick, stomach pain and diarrhea. Most people won’t even suffer any adverse reactions.

Bite Prevention

The best way to avoid catching malaria is not to get bitten in the first place.  Here are ways to reduce your chances of getting bitten:-

  • Wear insect repellant on all exposed skin.
  • Cover up with light clothing.
  • Sleep under a mosquito net.
  • Close windows and doors.
  • Use insecticides in the form of; mats, sprays, and plugins.

Repercussions Of Not Taking Medication

Let’s not beat around the bush here - if you don’t take malaria medication you might die.  If the brain damage or stroke doesn’t kill you it will leave you a shadow of the person you used to be.  You can go into shock, have liver damage, develop severe anemia, have kidney failure, ruptured spleen, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Although nobody can force you to take anti-malaria treatment, the question is - why would you take the risk?  Forgoing medication may mean that this is the last exotic holiday you will ever have.  

To review and purchase treatment for malaria click here.