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Vic Falls area: anti-malaric protection in April


Mar 31st, 2007, 12:14 AM
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Vic Falls area: anti-malaric protection in April

would you recommend the anti-malaric protection in April time in Vic Falls area ?
I have heard that there are so many different anti-malaric inoculations, depending on the specific kind of mosquito, that having just one is almost useless !!

Would the drier june be better to lower the risk to get sick ?
Fabio is offline  
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Mar 31st, 2007, 04:57 AM
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There is no inoculation for malaria. Wish there were, but till one comes along, the choices are pills of some sort.

You should check the www.cdc.gov/travel site for the countries you are visiting as to the recommendations. Print out the information for Zim and Zam. Then in consultation with your physician and pediatrician for your son, visit to discuss in line with the family health history.

There are three pill-type choices:

-Lariam, which few take these days as many people have weird side-effects, and though a once-a-week pill maybe a bit much for a child in particular. Need to start pills 1-2/weeks prior leaving for Africa, then while in Africa and 4/weeks upon return.

- Malarone, available now about 5-6/years, a daily pill, that few have any reaction to, and usually well tolerated even by children. 1 pill/daily starting 2/days before arriving in Malaria area, then daily taken with food, and for 7/days on return to home.

- doxycycline - an antibiotic, not specific for malaria, but recommended for those who may not be able to tolerate the two above. Side-effects are sun-sensitivity, so one needs to protect themselves with SPF, and women can develop thrush. This pill is a daily, but then on return you have to take for abot 30/days.

So there are differences in protocol and even cost. So discuss with your medical professional.

Regardless, which, the malaria mossies bit between dusk/dawn when you should be covered - long pants, shirts, socks, and use Repellent on exposed skin (but not on back of neck or face and wash off before retiring). Your rooms or tents should have repellent to spray before retiring. Best to spray room before going for dinner to let it set, and don't spray your bed linens.

While it's less likely there would be mossies in the dry season, if you are around water, where these critters breed, you can't be assured there won't be any. The Vic Falls, Hwange and Mana Pools area, that you plan to visit are almost always malaria zones, requiring protection.

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Mar 31st, 2007, 09:21 AM
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thank you sandi

you got the point !

We know that many travellers simply do nothing at all because of side effects vs. benefits !
Of course no doctor will tell us: do nothing and just be careful !
Then the decision will be only up to us !

Even once we come to a decision on which kind of pill to take, than coverage of risk is still not 100% assured and we might have the side effects.
I do not know the percentage of tourist doing nothing and the percentage of those who get sick among those wo got pills and those who do nothing.
As I can understand, taking pills helps to convince ourself that we did something and could not do more, except for the other common sense precautions !!
We will talk to the doctor !!

Anyway, is it reasonable to consider the winter month of june less risky than april ? Isn't it cooler at dusk/dawn and less mossies around ?

I was told by my boss (she is from SA), that for the skin, liquid paraffine is much better than insect repellent, even if a bit stinky !

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Apr 1st, 2007, 05:20 AM
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Liquid parafin... smelly. Not familiar as a repellent, but can still smell it from years back when this was used in lanterns near our tents. Stinky, stinky. Certainly not something I'd put on my skin.

As above, winter is usually dry, so less mossies, but as the places you plan to visit are all water areas, personally, I wouldn't chance it; certainly not if you have a child with you. Malarone and doxy seem to be child-friendly, if you can call these meds "friendly" for anyone!

Not much anyone can do when an adult makes a decision one-way or another for themself, but as the parent, you should make a responsbile decision for your child. Again, speak to the doctor and go from there.
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Apr 9th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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Sandi...."not on the back of the neck or face'?. Is this for repellants with DEET because of the proximity to brain?
I recall seeing a special that discussed dangers of strong poison based repellants.... a grown man put on a strong deet product on his bald head, two times. The suffered a major seizure and i believe he died. I have always tried to avoid DEET, since then.

I read about another repellent Skeeter...something. Will go and look for it. I have also used the Avon Skin so Soft and it worked well. However, i was not in an area where I was worried about malaria at the time...mostly W. Nile virus. It worked well for me but then, I have never attracted mosquitos for some reason and seldom get bitten.

I have also read the taking Vitamin B supplements or Brewers Yeast for a while prior to leaving helps as a natural repellant.

There are bug repellant clothes...anyone tried those? I saw a repellant neck scarf that would cover that vulnerable area.
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Apr 10th, 2007, 06:38 AM
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julie -

Yes, it's with Deet products and maybe for other such chemical based products. Likewise, it's advised you wash off the repellent before retiring for the night. If you've sprayed your room/tent before heading for dinner (though not over bed linens/pillow) it will have settled by your return. Then use the mossie nets, if provided.

I've used Avon's Skin so Soft for bugs, Deet based products and even one "organic" product with cloves (other spices... probably garlic gotta keep whatever might be out there away. They have all worked, I guess, for fortunately, over the years we haven't come on many mossies on mainland Africa. On coastal areas and where this is lots of water - mossies, grass flies and other.

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Apr 10th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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Hello Fabio,

In answer to your original question, yes, the risk would be lower in June because it's colder. I normally travel in late June /early August for other health reasons, but one nice side-effect is a low likelihood of being bitten. That being said, I have been bitten once or twice on all of my trips (always on my hands -- I have a tendency to forget to re-apply the repellent after washing them).

I just had a consult today with a colleague in tropical medicine regarding my own upcoming trip -- I'll be in Vic Falls towards the end of April. FWIW I plan to take Malarone.

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Apr 12th, 2007, 03:28 PM
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I guess Malarone will be the final choice, after we will have talked to the doctor !

By the way we are now concentrating the trip on Victoria Falls and Chobe, much closer than Mana Pools !
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