It appears that I will need drugs…. lots of them…. My currently nebulous itinerary has me traveling through parts of the world where Malaria, Yellow fever, Typhoid, Amoebiasis, Chagas disease, and Leishmaniasis are endemic.
For the not so squeamish do some Google-ing… The search results are better than watching a horror movie!
My local doctor will have a field day vaccinating and prescribing drugs for me.
The only apparent alternative is to bathe in 30 to 35% DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide) and soak everything else in Permethrin. Though the latter is likely to kill my cat and the former might make an excellent contribution to giving me cancer (if I’m a rat).
Mosquitoes and Sand Flies, the bane of the tropics, but if I don’t get bitten I’ll have nothing to worry about.
What am I supposed to do, walk around covered in insecticide soaked mosquito netting all day? Stay imprisoned on my boat and batten down all the hatches fly spray at the ready?
Sure, I’ll take precautions, but a determined mosquito is bound to find holes in my shield of insect repellent. Then what? Shiver my way back across the Atlantic?
Here is where the drugs come in, but which one? Just considering malaria the selection of preventative drugs is daunting?
- Malarone (atovaquone & proguanil HCI), apparently it has a 98% success rate against malaria . I must find out more about this mix…
- Doxycycline 90% effective but with side-effects including increased sensitivity to the sun which kind of makes it inappropriate for a yachtsman in the tropics.
- Lariam or Mefloquine hydrochloride? Also 90% effective but this drug can cause sleeping difficulty, anxiety, paranoia and visual disturbances! Obviously just what the short-handed sailor needs. 😉
- Chloroquine or (Avlocor / Nivaquine)? This stuff has you seeing things and losing your hair!
What options remain?
- Proquanil (Paludrine). Apparently this drug can be used long term, but I’ll have to try not to bleed because it delays coagulation of the blood.
For the rest?
Looks like I’ll also have my doctor busy with exotic blood tests upon my return to Europe. 🙂