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Malaria Medication

Long Island, NY
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134 posts
7 reviews
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Malaria Medication

What are peoples thoughts about taking antimalaria drugs to go to Costa Rica? I have mixed thoughts, and in speaking with my doctor, he seems to have mixed thoughts as well. The CDC website recommends it for travellers going to most of Costa Rica. Has anyone here taken any of the antimalaria drugs, and if so, how were the side effects...the last thing I want on my honeymoon is to be suffering from gastrointestinal problems. I would love to hear what other people have done when travelling to Guanacaste.

Thanks!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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46,674 posts
35 reviews
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1. Re: Malaria Medication

I will do what the Dr. reccomends...malaria is not a big problem in the Northern side of the country...even that are some cases...is far to be a big health issue.

Remember that malaria is transmited by the Anofeles mosquito...ZANCUDO!!..

If mosquitos/zancudos love you...as they love me...bring some good repelent...that is what I do...and with my line of work...I travel around the country ...with my spray or mosquito lotion all the time!!

R.A Luis

Just buckle up and enjoy the ride in paradise!!

Calgary, Canada
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18 reviews
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2. Re: Malaria Medication

Personally, I don't take malaria pills when I travel to the tropics because in my personal case, the side effects are a bigger risk than malaria. One of them increases your sensitivity to the sun, and I'm already a fair-skinned redhead, I'd have to stay indoors if I took that one! And then what would be the point of traveling to a tropical country?

The incubation period is 7-30 days. So if I were to get it, I'd likely be home or leaving soon before showing symptoms. So getting treatment would be easy.

Although it is curable with access to 1st world medical facilities, I'd rather not get it at all, so I would take them I wasn't so susceptible to the side effects.

I also do use repellant with lots of deet. Even without malaria, bug bites are no fun.

Virginia
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25 posts
20 reviews
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3. Re: Malaria Medication

I've been going to Costa Rica since 1985, including several trips to Guanacaste, and have never taken malaria medicine. Not to say someone couldn't get malaria, so I guess you can never be sure, but I certainly don't think it's very likely--much more likely the gastrointestinal problems! Luis is right as usual--take along good insect repellant if insects seem to love you. Have a great trip.

Bermuda
Destination Expert
for Bermuda
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3,424 posts
28 reviews
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4. Re: Malaria Medication

believe it or not, avon skin-so-soft body lotion works wonders! when i was in costa rica i used off! or similar. it worked, but i had to put soo much on to last through the night i couldnt sleep! i found out about avon when i was in the military, but had forgotten about it when i went to cr. next time im gonna sleep well and get no mosquito bites even if it means i gotta smell like a girl! between me and a bunch of my friends, weve spent probobly over a year in cr collectively, and none of us have gotten any kind of sickness there(not counting guaro hangovers).from what ive read about preventing malaria, these treatments in worst cases can be as bad as getting the disease itself. side effects, depending on the treatment, can vary from mild dizziness all the way up to psychiatric disturbances. i think the risk is too low to warrant putting yourself through any of that, especially if a simple girly lotion can do a good job of protecting you!

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: Malaria Medication

Prior to travel anywhere in the tropics outside of Australia we always visit the Travel Doctor. Our doctor has map of the world which shows where the malaria (and other disease) areas are. If he/she says we need to take malaria medication we take it. Malaria can and does kill people. We take doxycycline which is a broad spectrum antibiotic and has very minimal side effects. On our recent trip to south and central America we took doxycycline for a full 8 weeks with absolutely no ill effects. In fact it probably prevented a nasty chest infection from developing after I caught a cold on the flight home.

In Costa Rica we went to Corcovado National park. This is a known malaria area and was one of the reasons we took the malaria medication. I dont believe that you would need it in the north or in the mountains- but be guided by your doctor.

Calgary, Canada
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3,592 posts
18 reviews
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6. Re: Malaria Medication

I agree with nozzie in that everyone should talk to their doctor rather than taking advice from untrained strangers on the internet.

My comments were based on the fact that THIS poster has already talked to her doctor and was asking what other people do.

Long Island, NY
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134 posts
7 reviews
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7. Re: Malaria Medication

Yes, I have talked to my doctor and his feeling was mixed. I happen to have a weak stomach, and he said with that I may end up experiencing some of the unfortunate side effects of the antimalaria medication. Chloroquine is the antimalaria medication that is recommended for this region of Costa Rica, and its side effects are not pleasant. I just am curious what other educated travellers opinions are, and what their personal experiences have been. Thank you to everyone who has responded, it has me (and my fiance) definately leaning more towards not taking anything - which was the way that I was initially leaning. If anyone has any other experiences that they would like to share, I would like to hear them as well.

Thank you again to everyone for sharing.....

St. Petersburg...
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1,149 posts
43 reviews
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8. Re: Malaria Medication

Have been to CR 4 times and have not taken any malaria meds. Most of the other travelers that I know or that met along the way don't either. Many reasons, but one was this - the cdc is far too broad regarding areas of travel and this is what most Dr's go by.

For example, the cdc says if you visit Alajuela province you could be at risk. This is due to some cases in the province, the majority near the CR-Nic border. Unfortunately that entire province (which includes where even the airport is located!) gets labeled as at risk despite the cases being in an area where few to no tourists visit.

So, to each his/her own, you have to do whatever you feel comfortable with.

Maryland
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22 posts
4 reviews
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9. Re: Malaria Medication

Hello, my boyfriend and i just got back from CR in June. We did not take any malaria drugs, nor was i worried about it. from what i read i was more worried about dengue fever. this is also transmitted by mosquitos. i went to cr in 2000 and never had one mosquito bite. we went in june, and had lots of mosquitos! it depended where we were to how many mosquitos there were, and it was the beginning of the rainy season. we just used a lot of bug spray. we used just basic kind for every day travels. and we used to "woods" bug spray when we went on excursions to the rain forest. *the biggest problem in cr (for americans or just outsiders) is a parasite. i know this because i got one, and the pharmacist told me this was the biggest problems for travelers. i never would have thought i would have had a problem, but since our bodies are used to US standards, mine could not handle their parasites. the worst was i threw up all nite and had diarrehea. a very nice lady at thrifty rental wrote me a note in spanish and said to go to the local pharmacies....which by the way are very clean, and most people speak at least some english if you need to use them. she gave me some pills and i was ready to go within 24 hours. it was a little bug, but i don't regret anything i ate or did. i will be going back in a few years! the biggest thing i was told is just get bottled water, and..no ice in drinks! i don't know where i got the parasite from, but i still had a great trip, and the ticos were very helpful!

10. Re: Malaria Medication

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