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Malaria pills... Do I really need them

Travel Forums Asia Malaria pills... Do I really need them

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1. Posted by Jmavro (Budding Member 18 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hey everyone,

I am traveling to India in about 2 months and I wanted to know the risks about malaria. Do I really need to buy Malarone? Or can I just take precautions by using mosquito repellant,sleeping under a mosqiuto net, and wearing long pants and sleeves?

I will be traveling through the Golden Triangle, Varanasi and possibly make my way to Goa.


2. Posted by CanadaGuy (Respected Member 199 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Yes, you really need malaria prophylaxis- There are multiple previous posts here about the options- Malarone, doxycycline or Lariam. I would advise you to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of each option, but repellent and mosquito nets are definitely not close to being as effective as taking prophylactic pills.
You will undoubtedly come across people who say " nah- I went to Asia and did not take anything and was fine"-- That is partly due to the specific locations of their itinerary--- Malaria still tends to be more in rural than urban areas, so if you do plan on going more 'off the beaten path' then your risk is higher .

Malaria can be fatal- not something to mess with.

3. Posted by stiltskin (Full Member 45 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quoting CanadaGuy

[quote]You will undoubtedly come across people who say " nah- I went to Asia and did not take anything and was fine"-

Right, here I go - I am undoubtably one of those people who go - "nah, I was fine". I don't want to disparage anything said before, as malaria IS a very serious illness and definitly not one to take any risks with. I would just like to offer the other side of the argument.

My view on malaria prophylaxis is that lots of it depends on how long you're going to be in a malarial zone for. A few weeks - it's probably worth considering taking it, IN ADDITION to mozzie nets, repellent and wearing long sleeves/trousers. There is no anti malarial that is 100% effective against all types of malaria, and the ONLY way to make sure you do not contract it is to not get bitten.

But if you're going to spend much more time travelling, then it's worth considering the side effects of prolonged usage of anti-malarials. Doxycycline is an anti-biotic, and just think about the effects on your immune system of bombarding it with anti-biotics for, say, six months. This will leave you open to other types of infection, as your entire defense system will be weakened. Doxycycline can also cause sun burn, as it can increase photo-sensitivity, you cannot take it with oral contraceptives, and it can cause thrush.

Larium is an effective anti-malarial, especially against one particularly lethal strain called falciparum, but a minority of people suffer from mefloquine-toxicity, which can cause depression, migraines, panic attacks and psychosis. There is no way of knowing whether you will be effected in this way until you try it.

So there you go. There is no way I could advise you one way or the other - it is an entirely personal thing. I do not take anti-malarials, and so far, have not got malaria. However, this is a risk I take after careful consideration of all the options. Please do your research well and thoroughly, and make whatever decision is right for you. And please remember that even if you do take anti-malarials, they will not cover you 100%, so cover up and use repellents.

4. Posted by dreamwake (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I would have to agree with stiltskin. You should consider both sides and also consider your itinerary. I have been travelling to SEA for 7 years now, and I have not taken any anti-malarials either. It really depends on where you will be and for how long. In my opinion we are an over medicated society. You need to know all the facts, positive and negative, and then make your own choice.

5. Posted by andyt_uk (Budding Member 42 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

better to be safe than sorry?

6. Posted by Laura_B (Respected Member 352 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I took doxycycline on my last trip to SE & experienced severe photo sensitivity, so I stopped taking them. I was very careful not to get bitten though covered myself in insect repellent at sunset!

7. Posted by hamjunkie (Budding Member 62 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Ok going India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Loas, Thailand, Malaysia - i've been recommended to take pills for the duration (prob about 7/8 months) but it'll work out pretty expensive if i get them all over here - can anyone tell me if you can buy them in all the above countries and if so are they cheaper? Thanks

8. Posted by masterblaster19 (Full Member 119 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

yes, take them.

9. Posted by oslaue (Full Member 571 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


you are considering your life and health over a few lousy pills?

we would not be recommended by doctors and WHO to take these pills if we didnt have to.

but lets experiment...dont take them...i wanna hear what happens to you!

dont bother getting the injections wanna see if your strong enough not to catch all those weird and wonderful fevers and diseases!

heres a fact for you...take malaria tablets and you cover yourself 95% from malaria! its true that its not 100% cover. 95% is damn good odds.

its true about the side affects. but everyones body is very different to each others and unique.

if your as strong as an ox like me then no medication will bring you down! ha ha!

10. Posted by hamjunkie (Budding Member 62 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I dont think either of you read my query properly - i wanted to know if you can buy them cheaper over there rather than paying the extortionate UK prices?

Only posted in this thread as saw a complaint by a member about Newbies not searching throught things 1st, i searched couldn't find what i wanted so just added to this one.