travelling, malaria & babies - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 01-30-2009, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i posted in the health/healing forum but got no responses, so thought i would try again here - i imagine someone has some experience...

we are going travelling this summer - baby will be 14 months old or so, & i am wondering what to do about malaria since we are considering spending a bit of time in mozambique/zambia. we don't HAVE to go, but would like to. both are "malarial" countries, but it is the dry season for both, so lower risk of malaria. i'm aware of all the precautions that can be taken, but i don't even know whether babies can take anti malarials, or if i would even want her to! any ideas? experiences?
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#2 of 10 Old 01-30-2009, 12:56 PM
 
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as far as i know 4 years ago there was no antimalaria pills for babies. i mean the logistics too. how would your 14 month old swallow the pill? it is VERY bitter so mashing is not an option i would think. plus on top of that some adults react badly to antimalaria pills. almost have to try different ones to see which one agrees with ur system. i have had family members suffer upset stomach and increased hair loss.

first have a good ped at hand. know what drugs they do give children if they do get malaria and make sure you have access to it.

do the usual long sleeve clothes, mosquito nets. if there are no screens on teh windows then close the windows at dusk. precautions.

while you dont realy want your child to get malaria, for me its not a frightening disease. so when i took my dd even as a 8 month old, i took basic precautions but did not go overboard because it would have limited our freedom which i wasnt willing to do. it was also ok with me if she got malaria. i didnt want her to but was open to her getting it. basically you need teh right medicine to bring the fever down as others like tylenol or ibuf wont have any effect on high malaria fever. for me i would much rather have my dd get malaria rather than give her the anti malaria pill (which actually IS the pill to treat malaria that you take twice a week).

the scary malaria is teh brain one. i dont knwo about ur area. its something you might check into. where i was visiting there had not been a case of teh brain one.

i also got some natural repellents and got those sound ones that you plug in that keep mosquitoes away. i did my best to keep chemicals away - plug in liquid repellents but had to use it a couple of times. my ped, cdc also told me i HAD to use 10% or was it 5% deet - but i didnt do that.

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#3 of 10 Old 01-30-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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We went the first time as a childless couple to India and took the anti-malaria pills. The subsequent 3 visits we have not taken any precautions even when we went in malaria season two of those times. The best prevention is to use a natural repellant all the time, especially after about 4 PM. Close the windows at 4PM and start the mosquito coils or whatever your hosts use to prevent them from flying around. If you use nets, put those down at 4 PM also.

If you end up with malaria symptoms you can be easily treated for it with very little side effects if you act quickly. My dh has had it many times growing up in India and only once did he get really sick, because they thought it was the flu and waited to test/treat it. Malaria can cause permanant damage if untreated, but if you treat right away there is full recovery. You might get an emergency dose of drugs to travel with if you are not close to a hospital when you are there.

ETA: We used Odomos while we were there. It works great and is very safe. You can probably find it at a larger Indian grocery store.
http://clients.rediff.com/odomos/basics.htm

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#4 of 10 Old 01-30-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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I'd do long clothes and repellant on the face, hands (any area that's exposed)...wouldn't be concerned about the bug spray exposure for a short time- better than getting Malaria!

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#5 of 10 Old 02-02-2009, 08:09 PM
 
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Go. Take the trip, but take all the precautions.

The dry season and proper clothing should get you through. Of course there will be risk, but you are going to place that has risk involved. It's kind of built in.

Babies cannot take any anti-malarials. But you are better control of their movements then you would be of older children so you can be their saftey net.

I know you will read all about malaria and the different strains before you go so there is no need for my two cents here other than I think you should go.

I've had malaria twice and I'm telling you if you are smart you will be fine and their risk is no greater than any other risk in life.

Have a great trip I hope you write about it when you return.
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#6 of 10 Old 02-02-2009, 08:36 PM
 
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There are three types of malaria. Two are only deadly if left untreated and if the person is already weakened. Treatment is, I have heard, a PITA and bad but not worth skipping a trip for. One (falciparum) can kill in three days. Falciparum is hyper-endemic in southern Zambia.

I personally would go to a travel doctor, bring medicine to treat both types, sleep under a net, take EVERY precaution (no sunset safaris!), and go to areas that do not have higher incidences of malaria. No riverboat tours during biting hours.

Bring a permanet and keep it in your carry on.

I don't know if I'd do insect repellant... we were in an area with vivax malaria so I never considered it but if severe malaria were a risk, I dunno. Tough call. Have a good trip!

(PS If you can get the typhoid vaccine yourself and you are still breastfeeding a lot, I would do it. It is a really mild vaccine and baby will get some of the antibodies as well.)

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#7 of 10 Old 02-07-2009, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for your responses, guys.

i have to say i am surprised that so many of you (in fact all of you!) just say go. i guess my underlying fear is that last time we were in zambia, in the house we will be visiting again, the 6 month old girl next door died of malaria. so i can't help but take it seriously as a disease. it was a horrible horrible event. so really we are still pondering our comfort level.
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#8 of 10 Old 02-09-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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Well I take it very seriously but I guess I was assuming that you wouldn't even be contemplating the trip (it is so exhausting with a baby) if it were not for something really important in the first place, you know? I do think that a lot of the other posters were more familiar with malaria caused by p. vivax which is not usually fatal, though. If you feel uncomfortable, you should not go.

Do you think the village you will be staying in has a pretty high incidence of malaria caused by falciparum? Couldn't you stay elsewhere?

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#9 of 10 Old 02-09-2009, 11:56 PM
 
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Babies CAN take antimalarials. We went to Africa when my DD was 10 months old. I wasn't okay with her getting malaria and the prevention is quite simple. The pharmacist crushed 1/8 of a tablet and put in a gelcap. Once per week I would open the gelcap and mix the antimalarial with mashed banana to cut the bitterness. To figure out the amount to prescribe, the doctor took both DD's age and weight into consideration. My six year-old took 1/4 of a tablet.

You may want to look into the Yellow Fever vaccine, though to see if it's recommended or required for entry. It's quite nasty and we opted out.

I would recommend making an appointment at a travel clinic to get more information from a doctor who is trained in travel medicine. Do this well in advance of your trip!
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#10 of 10 Old 03-15-2009, 02:18 AM
 
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There is infant malaria doses ,that you could use , DS was 15 months and we used the malorone which is milder but given daily. it was a hussle but came back w/o any malaria.

I grew up in Kenya and i have witnessed malaria and children. You have to factor in the accessibility of medical services hosp , and docs as well. It may be easy to cure but time is especially in the young of atmost import..
Good luck
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