Malaria - Tourism
Once upon a time there occurred a discussion about safety for working abroad, and at one point Malaria was mentioned.
Malaria, a fellow of mine proposed, can be likened to a stronger flu.
Myself, I cannot wholly support this statement. Malaria is the only time where you feel you are freezing while staying in the tropes. You will want to cover yourself with all the blankets of the world, and those blankets as you may find in the tropes will not be able to provide any solace. Of course, at the same moment, your body will be a burning furnace and you will be sweating rivers. While you are trying to puzzle out, if you are going to freeze to death, or burn to death, it is advised to place a bucket in a strategic location – I would propose a maximum distance of 20 cm / 1 foot from your head. The topping is provided by a splitting headache, but that will be the least of your worries.
Once the Malaria had peaked, and there is always this peak after which you get better, I always felt ecstatic. At this point, I felt like jumping and running around, just from the joy of feeling how healthy your body is. Often, I did not only feel like that, I actually became hyperactive, talking nonsense and moving about. Yes, you feel weakened and probably the headache is still there – but that is nothing like before. Actually, that is just about how a flu here in Switzerland feels like.
But what does the doctor prescribe?
Of the four different types of Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum can lead to death within a couple of days. Therefore, the tropical doctor suggests that if you have been to a place where there are malaria inducing mosquitos, and you have a real fever and no opportunity to be diagnosed by a doctor within 24-48 hours, you should self-medicate by taking antibiotics in combination with fatty food (for example milk). Medicaments such as Chloroquin in the central Americas, Atovaquon/Proguanil, Artemether/Lumefantrin in other regions are mentioned.
Of course, the doctors recommend to prevent malaria by taking a prophylactic medication, such as Malarone, and by protecting oneself against mosquitos. If you would prefer not to spend your holidays vomiting and feverish, I would follow that advice – and if you feel like vomiting, there’s always alcohol at hand ;-)
In other news, I hope to be landing in Madagascar within 24 hours (hence the topic of Malaria), and if opportunity arises, I’ll report the gory details of this journey on these pages.