Planning a tropical holiday is incredibly exciting, but with the euphoria of making your booking, it is important to remember about one small, yet potentially deadly pest...... we are not talking about; lions, tigers and bears but the tiny irritating mosquito. If your dream trip takes you to any of the malaria hot spots then you have two major concerns, malaria prevention and how the medication will affect you. There are two main malaria treatments - Malarone and Lariam both prevent the onset of the disease but can affect people in different ways.
Malaria is caused by a parasite carried by some mosquitos. If you are bitten by an infected insect you will probably contract malaria. Some people are affected by the disease more than others and some don't feel the effects until they have arrived home. It is essential that you are immunised before you travel to avoid suffering symptoms that include; high temperature, headache, sweats, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and in the worst cases organ failure and brain damage. It is essential that you take Malaria medication a few weeks before you go away and while you are on holiday. After a consultation where you will be asked questions about your health and family history, your doctor will prescribe the treatment most suited to you. Also you will need to take practical precautions such as; creams, covered arms and legs and mosquito nets to deter the insects from biting you.
Malarone is a drug used to prevent Malaria. It contains Atovaquone and Proguanil which prevent parasites growing in red blood cells. Malarone is to be taken two or three days before travelling, during your holiday and for seven days after you return. Malarone can only be taken if you are in good health and does have a wide range of side effects that are generally quite mild. The benefits of Malarone are that it isn’t as caustic as older malaria treatments, it doesn't take long to take effect and you don’t have to take it for too long after your return.
Lariam is an antimalarial that contains quinine with the active ingredient mefloquine. It is taken once a week starting three weeks before you go away, while you are on holiday and then a further four weeks on your return. It is much more cost effective because so few tablets need to be taken but this benefit is compromised by the severe adverse side effects that can be encountered by users. If you are prone to anxiety, depression or low moods you are advised not to take Lariam as it can exasperate symptoms. You will only be allowed to take Lariam if you fulfil certain health requirements and you will be advised to see how the medication affects you before undertake certain tasks.
As with all medication Malarone and Lariam are suitable for different types of people. Only after a thorough consultation with a doctor will you be able to choose the right medication. It is important that you are completely honest about any medical conditions or mental health issues you may have because your holiday could be a nightmare instead of the dream that you hoped it would be.