When I went for my vaccinations before leaving for this trip, I was given doxycycline as a malaria preventive medication as there was a possibility I would be going to rural areas in risk zones.
A few facts: Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by Plasmodium parasites transmitted through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes, known as “malaria vectors”. These mosquitoes bite between dusk and dawn. Most of the deaths attributed to malaria are among African children. Travelers from malaria-free areas that are not immune to the disease are very vulnerable when they get infected. Malaria is preventable and curable
As travelers, it might be a good idea to sleep with insecticide-treated mosquito nets. I found that in malaria areas, sometimes the nets were provided, sometimes not. You should not take it for granted. Also, insect repellant (bug spray) became my best friend in South East Asia. I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom, but let’s not forget that mosquitoes transfer other diseases as well, like the West Nile virus and the Dengue Fever (given, it depends on where in the world you are).
To learn more about malaria, like the drug-resistant parasites, click here.
I will be honest with you, I regret taking doxycycline and I eventually did stop it. I know this medication is often prescribed and shows very conclusive results. After all, there is a reason it was prescribed and I fully understand.
The problem was that the side-effects were really getting to me. I would get strong nausea that would last 1 to 2 hours after taking the medication. They would actually prevent me from going out sometimes. The sun sensitivity was also nothing like I had expected when I was first told that this might be a side-effect. I rarely get bad sunburns and when I do, it’s because I really wasn’t careful. This was something else. Unless I was fully covered I would burn. Sunscreen, no sunscreen, it didn’t matter. It was painful and it made my skin look at least 30 years older. Let’s be honest, I couldn’t really completely cover because of the extreme heat.
So yep, there you go, I really regret almost every single dose I took.