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Advice on travelling to the Gambia with an eight month old and breastfeeding

(9 Posts)
abibatousmum Fri 07-Sep-07 21:50:09

I am planning a trip to the Gambia next month with dh and dd who will be aged 8 months. I am still breastfeeding. I have received lots of conflicting advice from health professionals on what is safe for us both to take, and am not sure what to do. Wondered if anyone else has been in this situation? My dh is from Gambia and we are going to visit his family- so will be in good accomodation with bed nets etc. We are both very aware of the risks in Gambia and aware of all the symptoms, and will have access to good medical treatment if need be- but we also realise what a dangerous disease it is, especially to children. Any advice would be much appreciated.

NappiesGalore Sat 08-Sep-07 00:10:24

are you talking about malaria?
i think the advice is to take the malaria coursebefore, during and after the holiday. and that would go for kids too. breastfeeing will help with immunity, but i dunno about preventing malaria...

have you asked the doctor? or looked it up on medical and/or travel websites/books ec?

abibatousmum Sat 08-Sep-07 09:28:01

hi, yes sorry not be clear. The major concern is malaria. I have spoken to the nurse at my pratice, who advised me to give dd choloquine syrup and for me to take the choloquine and proguanil combination (which I have taken before). I did question her but she was sure it was the best advice but did tell me to also ask the local chemist. When I asked him he told me choloquine syrup is ineffective in Gambia (which i did suspect) and that I couldn't take progunail and breastfeed. He suggested I stop breastfeeding and didn't know what to suggest about her- she is too young to take malarone and he didn't advise larium. I have looked up the Masta website and the malaria ref centre- both seem to say larium for both of us is best. Kids in Gambia are given choloquine syrup- but it is often ineffective.Just wondering really if anyone else had gone and what they had done.

NappiesGalore Sat 08-Sep-07 12:02:30

well, you seem to know much more about it than me... and the practice nurse it would seem! [why oh why dont these people do some research before sounding so sure of themselves??]

from what you say,if larium is best for both, and shes having it too, theres no need to give up bf... in fact, i think giving up bf for this reason is a really daft idea

suedonim Sat 08-Sep-07 14:36:23

There is less risk of malaria in Gambia between Oct and March, apparently, and less risk if you are by the sea rather than inland. We live in W Africa and take malarone but it shouldn't be taken when bf-ing nor given to children under 1yr/10kilo. Doxy isn't suitable for children under 12, either. Chloroquine is no good due to resistance in the area. I think this website is the best for info as it gives you the regimes to be used.

Prevention may be the key, covering up after 6pm, anti-mozzie sprays and spraying your rooms. Sainsbury's sell a new anti-mozzie fabric tho I'm not sure exactly what you do with it. Is there a proper travel clinic nearby? Ime, UK GP surgeries are not very clued up about travel issues. sad

kiskidee Sat 08-Sep-07 14:54:27

invest in a mosquito net that is treated with permethrin.

the mosquitos which transmit malaria are most active around dawn and dusk so stay in a screened area at those times.

use flyspray 30 mins before going to bed. Concentrate in the dark parts and corners of the room.

wear light/white clothing (preferably long sleeves and long trousers) as much as possible

use mosquito repellant with deet.

If larium tastes as nasty as chloroquine does, I can't see how you can get a child to swallow it. sad

abibatousmum Sat 08-Sep-07 21:35:20

thanks for the advice. I agree about the advice- I thought I was doing the right thing by asking the nurse as I was told she would do research for me- but she clearly hadn't even read through the notes she had downloaded from the web before I came in and the advice was much less detailed than what I have been able to find myself. I think prevention will be the best option, although I will contact the website you mention suedonim and make sure take any drugs that are suitable.

potoroo Sat 08-Sep-07 21:46:55

Try this NHS site too -

Pick your country from the drop down box - there's also a page for travelling with children.

abibatousmum Sat 08-Sep-07 22:25:06

thanks so much guys- just looked up the websites and they are brilliant. Mumsnet is a great resource! Feel much more confident about the trip now

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