Author Topic: Malaria in Central America  (Read 695 times)

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Offline Huli

Malaria in Central America
« on: November 17, 2018, 01:05:19 pm »
Hey all!

We are getting ready to fly out to Mexico to begin our bike trip south with no projected end point.  We have doctor prescribed malaria meds, but I am concerned about the side effects.  I was thinking a few things that I am having a hard time verifying.  Has anyone been to Malaria zones in the dry season who can enlighten me as to what locals do?  It seems to me that nobody would have kidneys or livers if they constantly took these nasty meds.  Also, according to a second opinion here in the states I do have the latest med style.

Cheers,
Huli
See me go places on Insta @Over_that_way

Offline John Nettles

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2018, 02:11:02 pm »
Hey,
Couple of thoughts & observations.  We travel to Central America a couple of times a year.  We take malaria meds only when we will be below 5,000 feet elevation as mosquitos can not fly above that altitude.  Secondly, my wife is a physician and she say you are best to see a good infectious disease doc who knows a lot about tropical diseases.  It turns out, there are different kinds of malaria and thus certain malarial drugs work better against some than others.
As far as locals go, rarely do the locals take the meds.  My wife volunteers occasionally at a small rural hospital in Honduras near the Caribbean coast and they only see a couple of malarial cases a year there.  Maybe the locals' immune system is better able to handle malaria than those outside the area but in any case, they locals just don't take the meds, at minimum probably because they can not afford them.
Hope this helps at least somewhat.  John

Offline Huli

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2018, 02:55:06 pm »
Hey,
Couple of thoughts & observations.  We travel to Central America a couple of times a year.  We take malaria meds only when we will be below 5,000 feet elevation as mosquitos can not fly above that altitude.  Secondly, my wife is a physician and she say you are best to see a good infectious disease doc who knows a lot about tropical diseases.  It turns out, there are different kinds of malaria and thus certain malarial drugs work better against some than others.
As far as locals go, rarely do the locals take the meds.  My wife volunteers occasionally at a small rural hospital in Honduras near the Caribbean coast and they only see a couple of malarial cases a year there.  Maybe the locals' immune system is better able to handle malaria than those outside the area but in any case, they locals just don't take the meds, at minimum probably because they can not afford them.
Hope this helps at least somewhat.  John
Yes, thank you.
I will need to look into the regions for the meds i have.  The single pill is a blend of two medicines.  My doc said it is a universal pill...but cure alls, cure nothing... lol.
See me go places on Insta @Over_that_way

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2018, 04:09:43 pm »
We take malaria meds only when we will be below 5,000 feet elevation as mosquitos can not fly above that altitude.

Pardon my quibbling...

I vividly remember a t-shirt that said something like, "Jackson, WY: there aren't enough locals to feed the mosquitos here so we import tourists."  IIRC the elevation at the south (downstream) end of Jackson Hole is over 6,000 ft.  Is it so dry over 5,000 feet in Honduras that there are no mosquitos?

Offline Huli

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2018, 04:10:45 pm »
We take malaria meds only when we will be below 5,000 feet elevation as mosquitos can not fly above that altitude.

Pardon my quibbling...

I vividly remember a t-shirt that said something like, "Jackson, WY: there aren't enough locals to feed the mosquitos here so we import tourists."  IIRC the elevation at the south (downstream) end of Jackson Hole is over 6,000 ft.  Is it so dry over 5,000 feet in Honduras that there are no mosquitos?
Its seasonal.
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Offline John Nettles

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2018, 06:27:40 pm »
I don't know what to tell you.  I am immunosuppressed due to a transplant so when I get sick it is very bad so we are fairly cautious.  Three of my docs, including my infectious disease doc, say I have nothing to worry about with malaria while in the highlands (above 5,000') in Central America.  I have been there several times (not bike touring though) and have not seen a mosquito up high.  Definitely lower elevations but not up high.

That said, you now have me a bit paranoid so I will have to do more research.

Offline Huli

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2018, 06:30:51 pm »
I don't know what to tell you.  I am immunosuppressed due to a transplant so when I get sick it is very bad so we are fairly cautious.  Three of my docs, including my infectious disease doc, say I have nothing to worry about with malaria while in the highlands (above 5,000') in Central America.  I have been there several times (not bike touring though) and have not seen a mosquito up high.  Definitely lower elevations but not up high.

That said, you now have me a bit paranoid so I will have to do more research.
Please let me know what you find out.  I am on the verge of biking with tonic (and gin) to avoid the meds. 
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Offline John Nettles

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2018, 06:32:33 pm »
I will but I would do mescal when in Mexico.  Actually, tequila.  I think mescal is nasty.

Offline Huli

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2018, 06:33:30 pm »
I will but I would do mescal when in Mexico.  Actually, tequila.  I think mescal is nasty.
I love you....lol
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Offline John Nettles

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2018, 09:22:54 pm »
OK, did a little checking.  It is the specific variety of mosquito that carries the malaria disease that has a tough time in cooler climates.  Since higher elevations cool off, it is around the 5000' mark that makes it too cool for that mosquito.  Same thing for the mosquito that carries the Zika virus; doesn't do well in cooler climates.

Other mosquito can handle cooler climates, thus higher altitude.  So it is the temperature not the elevation that seems to matter.

I will still look into it a little more next week if I can.  In the meantime, I hope this helps, John

Offline Huli

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2018, 09:27:52 pm »
OK, did a little checking.  It is the specific variety of mosquito that carries the malaria disease that has a tough time in cooler climates.  Since higher elevations cool off, it is around the 5000' mark that makes it too cool for that mosquito.  Same thing for the mosquito that carries the Zika virus; doesn't do well in cooler climates.

Other mosquito can handle cooler climates, thus higher altitude.  So it is the temperature not the elevation that seems to matter.

I will still look into it a little more next week if I can.  In the meantime, I hope this helps, John
Yes sir!
Thank you.
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Offline Nyimbo

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2018, 02:12:55 am »
If you are going in a low mosquito season and u want to avoid the meds then be diligent with the deet repelant at dusk and dawn sleep with a net wear long sleeve shirt and pants in evening and in worst case if you get the parasite take the treatment. Some folks just hate taking the meds and so they take the chance. If u do get malaria tho u don’t have a choice u need the treatment.

Disclaimer not a doc but I do have years of experience living amongst the critters. Always took the prophylactic. And on the two occasions I didn’t - I got sick. If it was me I’d take the meds. Malaria is a pain and normally easy to treat but it can on occasion be very dangerous.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 10:45:20 am by Nyimbo »

Offline Huli

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2018, 07:39:55 am »
If you are going in a low mosquito season and u want to avoid the meds then be diligent with the deet repelant at dusk and dawn sleep with a net wear long sleeve shirt and pants in evening and in worst case if you get the parasite take the treatment. Some folks just hate taking the meds and so they take the chance. If u do get malaria tho u don’t have a choice u need the treatment.
Disclaimer not a doc but I do have years of experience living amongst the critters. Always took the prophylactic. And on the two occasions I didn’t I got sick. If it was me I’d take the meds. Malaria is a pain and normally easy to treat but it can on occasion be very dangerous.
Do you know what the treatment is called?  We have the deet, long clothes and nets that are treated as well.
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Offline Nyimbo

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2018, 10:58:00 am »
I lived in different area of the world and different regions have different recommendations so I’m not going to mention meds.  I will say this though, it is usually easier to get get the meds locally.  The docs and the chemist there deal with Malaria daily and they do usually have a better sense than USA docs who rarely see it. Both treatment and cure drugs will be available locally where u travel and usually much cheaper.

Offline Huli

Re: Malaria in Central America
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2018, 11:25:49 am »
I lived in different area of the world and different regions have different recommendations so I’m not going to mention meds.  I will say this though, it is usually easier to get get the meds locally.  The docs and the chemist there deal with Malaria daily and they do usually have a better sense than USA docs who rarely see it. Both treatment and cure drugs will be available locally where u travel and usually much cheaper.
Thank you for confirming!
See me go places on Insta @Over_that_way