Traveling to bad ass places to see bad ass animals will eventually put you in the vicinity of exotic new diseases. Diseases that will fuck your shit up if you don’t take precautions.
When it comes to the king of tropical diseases, gonorrhea…I mean malaria, all of the prescription medications available does an effective job of prevention. However, the two that I have taken, Doxycycline and Malarone, have some side effects that need to be considered prior to taking. This blog is about my experience with both.
Note 1: these are prescription medicines. I wouldn’t trust your malaria medication to over the counter shit, herbal supplements, a vegan diet, prayers, or a witch doctor’s blessing. You do you though and I will totally judge you in the process.
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Note 2: malaria is a bacterial diseases meaning that there is medication to help to prevent it from manifesting. Dengue is a very similar mosquito disease that is viral. To prevent dengue you will need a vaccination that is only partly successful. You can read about dengue vaccination on the World Health Organization’s website here.
Doxycycline Negative Side Effects
The doctor told me that I had to stay out of the sun while on doxy because I would burn much easier. First, I’m already translucent and I burn like a mutha fucker on a cloudy day in December. Second, how the flying fuck am I going to stay out of the sun on the equator in the summertime? I basically had to wear a space suit to go outside. I was actually okay wearing the space suit as it kept the swarms of blood drinking Amazonian insects from only drinking 70% of my blood instead of all of it.
My sister, Ass-Flap, has gotten super sick on Doxy in a prior experience. She got so sick that she was actually blowing chunks. To be fair, she is a chunk-blower at the best of times, but take that into account if you have a sensitive stomach. Chunky-chunky!!
Doxycycline Unexpected Positive Side Effects
Unexpected positive side effects?
Disclosure: I might have had an intestine filled with parasites prior to taking Doxy. Hey, man, you try eating goddamn larvae out in the middle of the Amazon and try not to get parasites! Anyway, the Doxy absolutely wiped out those wicked wormy bastards.
For years I suffered from a skin condition called Rosacea. Doxy apparently produces an anti-inflammatory response in the immune system. By taking Doxy for malaria it finally and thankfully got my skin condition in check.
Doxy protected me from malaria, cleaned out my parasite infestation, and helped ease a years long skin affliction…This shit is like a magic bullet in pill format. Yay to science on this one!
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Malaraone Negative Side Effects
I was told that there was a chance of “vivid dreams” while taking malarone. The vividness manifested in a kind of dream-state sensory overlord. When the dreams got super intense I would end up waking up, which happened quite a few times during the night.
Consistently waking up from sensory overload is one thing when you are in the comfort of your own home. When you wake up in a tent on the Masai Mara surrounded by the sounds of hyenas and lions it can be a little disconcerting. It wasn’t the noisy predators that freaked me the fuck out. It was the hippo that was lurking outside of my tent.
I knew there was a hippo named Simon that lurked around this particularly tent camp. When Simon was “mowing the lawn” around the tents humans had to stay as far away as possible. Simon, despite his cute name, would not hesitate to kill any of us. Fucking Simon.
One night I woke up from an uber-vivid dream. After I got my barrings I started to pay attention to the sounds that were directly outside of my tent. Simon, that fat mutha fucker, was so close to my tent that I could hear his teeth grinding as he chewed and his fat belly grumbling as he digested the grass.
Yeah, you try going back to sleep after that!
Malarone Positive Side Effects
Some of the vivid dreams were sex dreams!
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Other Malaria Medications
If you are going to be traveling somewhere exotic and wish to take a prophylactic malaria medication the CDC has some details about a handful of them. Like I said over and goddamn over again, they are all effective. It’s the side effects that you have to watch out, especially if you are pregnant or nursing or a sensitive little bitch like me.
Now, about that gonorrhea…