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Monday, January 3

Medical Stuff Updated


Mary: As part of our course we received a comprehensive list of the type of stuff we could take with us in our first aid kit, as well as the prescriptions necessary to get antibiotics etc for our personal use. As we are going to be away for a long time, we decided to kit ourselves out extremely well - we are not sure how much access we will get to good quality non-faked medication en route! We are carrying, amongst other things:
  • Antibiotics: a few different ones for different ailments including upset stomachs, chest infections, skin infections (cellulitus etc)
  • Strong painkillers : of the sort recommended for bad dental pain or broken limbs
  • Emergency packs: containing needles, cannulas etc in case we get to a hospital with trained staff but no equipment
  • Blood bags & needles: for Brett if he can find a good clinic to give blood at, but we wont have to rely on them having safe/sterile equipment
  • Stiffneck collars & splints
  • Blood pressure cuff & stethoscope: we were trained in how to measure & monitor blood pressure on our course
  • Coartem: for treatment of malaria. Obviously we will get to a clinic quickly if we suspect we have it but always good to start treatment straight away.
  • Mefloquine: antimalarial
  • We also have a heap of other things, including my huge vitamin collection, an assortment of bandages & plasters, creams & lotions.
We got our first aid kit in the UK packaged up in tupperwares which are very handy, but I have been looking for a red bag to stow it all away in. We finally found a large-ish soft coolerbag in bright red, at Westpack, which we are using. It takes 30 cans (according to the label) but not everything fits in - even with all the packaging from the medication removed & it just being the blister packs!! so we will have to settle on putting the medications in there & having a separate bag for the equipment such as blood pressure cuff, stethoscope etc. We might just need to get a second bag anyway! I will paint a big white cross on the front sometime.
 
Malaria: We have visited a good travel clinic in JHB to get updated info on which malaria prophylactic to take, given we are away for so long. We settled on Mefloquine, the generic version of Larium, as it is the cheapest by a very long way. There are some possible side effects, but hopefully we will be ok. We were advised not to worry about malaria in areas where the daytime high temperatures are lower than 22 degrees C, as well as in deserts or other extremely dry environments. Also, the malaria-carrying mosquito is mainly active between midnight and 4am so that is when we need to be most careful. We should be able to get a rbeak in our malaria tablet taking to give ourselves a bit of a break. Heading up the east coast, Zimbabwe and Zambia have very little malaria right now, but countries further north than that we will need to be taking malaria tablets for, up until Sudan -  the northern parts of Sudan dont have much malaria and Egypt has none. Obviously Europe is fine, but so is Morocco. Western Sahara and Mauritania are mostly too dry for malaria mosquitoes, so we can pretty much get a good couple weeks break in our malaria treatment from approx Sudan through Europe and back round to Mali (although you still have to take medication for 1 week before & 4 weeks after leaving a malaria area). This in conjunction with being careful to wear long sleeves, cover ourselves in bug spray and always sleep under our mosquito net should hopefully be sufficient.
 
Dentist: we are off to get our teeth checked & cleaned on the 1st June (Brett's birthday) - what a great birthday present!! I predict that Brett will have nothing wrong as usual (he has no fillings!) and I am hoping everything is fine too. After the trauma of my last filling (which was also my first), I just want to be able to dodge that bullet one more time. Although I'd far rather get any necessary fillings done here than in the bush!

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