MALARIA AND OTHER HEALTH CONCERNS

STAYING HEALTHY
There are a few basic health matters that require care and attention. The following points are only recommended guidelines.

We strongly urge travellers to consult a doctor and to check with your health department prior to departure for any changes in health regulations.


A) Malaria

Both chloroquine resistant and normal strains of malaria are prevalent in Africa. Malaria is transmitted by some female Anopheles mosquitoes which are active in the early evening and throughout the night, usually when one is sleeping or sitting around campfires in the evening.

Malaria prophylaxis recommendations for Africa travellers:

Expert opinion differs regarding the best approach to malaria prophylaxis. It is important to bear in mind that malaria may be contracted despite chemoprophylaxis, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been reported.

Please remember that the best insurance against contracting malaria is to try to prevent oneself from being bitten so use mosquito repellents liberally. Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings.

If staying in a bungalow/tent, spray with an insecticide to kill any mosquitoes which may have flown into your room. Mosquito coils are also effective.

If you become ill on your return, while still on prophylaxis or even once you have stopped, make sure that your doctor does everything necessary to establish that your illness is not malaria. Malaria is not a serious problem if people are sensible and take basic precautions. We do not use camps in any densely populated areas, and this greatly reduces the risk of being infected by malaria. We have had very, very few cases of guests contracting malaria during the 16 years we have been operating.

There are different drugs effective against different strains of malaria. Your personal physician can recommend which one is best for you. The drugs are discussed in the following paragraphs:

1. MEFLOQUINE (Larium) is recommended by the CDC as the drug of choice for travellers at risk of infection with chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum (which has been confirmed in much of sub-Saharan Africa). Mefloquine is highly effective against both chloroquine-resistant and Fansidar-resistant infections. The CDC recommends the dose (250 mg for an adult) should be taken weekly starting one week before travel. Prophylaxis should be continued weekly during travel in malarious areas and for 4 weeks after a person leaves such areas. There are side affects to taking Larium, which you should discuss with your physician.

2. For travellers who are unable to take mefloquine, the CDC recommends the drug Doxycycline as an alternative.

3. If you are unable to take either mefloquine or doxycycline, you may purchase Chloroquine Phosphate based drug (several brands are available). In such instances, travelers must be aware of the possibility of contracting the chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria, which is prevalent in East and Central Africa. The CDC recommends starting the dosage (300-mg base for adults, 500-mg salt) two weeks before travel. Prophylaxis should be continued weekly during travel in malarious areas and for six weeks after your return. Chloroquine Phosphate should be taken along with Paludrine. Both can be purchased in Africa. Paludrine is the preventative medication recommended by the medical experts in Africa.

4. The newest drug to be introduced is Malarone. Be sure to mention this to your doctor, as one should avoid Larium if possible due to its reported side-affects.

5. A new homoeopathic anti-malarial called Demal200 has recently been released for more information visit the following website: www.blueturtlegroup.com

B) Water

It is very important that you drink plenty of water especially during the warmer months. In South Africa, all tap water is potable while in Botswana, water is generally safe to drink anywhere, even from rivers and lagoons within the Okavango Delta. Namibian and Zimbabwean water from taps is also safe. In Mozambique and Zambia, it is recommended that you only drink bottled water.

Bottled water is widely available throughout the region, and it is recommended that one drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration. This excludes tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages, which act as diuretics and can actually contribute to dehydration.
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