I am going to work in the Ivory Coast on an oil and gas platform out at sea I will be in the Ivory Coast for about 30 Days and home for 26 Days and back in the Ivory Coast for 30 Days this could go on for a couple of years. What would you suggest that I take for anti malaria? Would O need a prescription or can I get it from the chemist?
You usually need a prescription to get anti-malarials. None of the available anti-malarials are really recommended for long-term use, except possibly for doxycycline, and since that one requires you to take for four weeks after you have left the malarial area, you might find yourself taking a pill every day for several years! Some people on doxycycline experience sun sensitivity as a side effect, which means it might not be the best choice for people working outdoors in the tropics.
Likewise, Lariam must be taken for four weeks after leaving the malarial area, but is only taken weekly, so it might be more convenient. Lariam is unsuitable for people with certain psychiatric disorders, and many people report side effects such as anxiety and increased aggression. Moreover, I am not sure what the recommendations are regarding long term use.
Malarone (atovaquone-proguanil) is convenient in that it only has to be taken for one week after leaving a malarial area, but again it is a daily pill, and while it probably has the least number of side effects, it is also the most expensive, and could be prohibitively so for long term use.
So, as you can see, there are pros and cons with all the main forms of preventive anti-malarial medications! Since you will be working out at sea, I actually wonder how great the risk of malaria actually is—the mosquitoes which carry the malaria parasite require stagnant freshwater in order to breed, and so if the platform does not contain these areas of still freshwater and if you are sufficiently off-shore so that mosquitoes cannot fly readily from the mainland, you may actually find there is not very much malaria there, and you will only be at risk if and when you visit the mainland.
In those cases, you could look into taking Malarone or another type of medication to protect you when you are on the mainland. In addition, for peace of mind, while on the rig you could use other types of prevention against malaria, such as sleeping under a long-lasting insecticide treated bednet at night and taking care not to be bitten by any mosquitoes that might be around.
As such, I would advise you trying to find out how far the platform is from the mainland and whether there is known malarial risk there. If there is, then you should talk to your doctor about the above anti-malarial drugs and decide which one would be best for you, if any—like bednets, there are also measures you can take to protect yourself from mosquitoes which can also be very effective is used regularly and correctly.
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