Malaria in Tanzania & Common Simple Problems During Your Kilimanjaro Trekking

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.

Malaria precautions

Malaria Map
  • Malaria precautions are essential in all areas below 1800m, all year round.
  • Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets.

  • Atovaquone/proguanil OR Doxycycline (doxycyl 100) OR mefloquine is usually recommended.
  • If you have been travelling in a malarious area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly. Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
  • If travelling to high risk malarious areas, remote from medical facilities, carrying emergency malaria standby treatment may be considered.

 

Common Simple Problems During Your Kilimanjaro Trekking

Headache
A common outdoor complaint, headaches have three general courses: 1) dehydration, 2) muscular tension, and 3) a vascular disorder. Most headaches respond to rest, hydration, massage and over-the-counter painkillers, e.g. ibuprofen. Beware of the headache that comes on suddenly, is unrelieved by rest and medication, and it not like any other headache you have ever had.

Nosebleed
Lean the patient forward and pinch the meaty part of the nose firmly shut. Hold it for 10 to 15 minutes. If bleeding persists, a squirt of a nose spray, such as Afrin, may help stop the bleeding. If the bleeding still persists, pack the nostrils gently with gauze soaked with antibiotic ointment or a spray such as Afrin. It is possible for noses to bleed from the back, and blood runs down the throat.

 

Snow blindness
Six to twelve hours after overexposure to the sun’s radiation, the patient complains of pain and swelling in the eye with a feeling like an “eye full of sand”. The cornea of the eye has been sunburned. Sunburned eyes are usually very sensitive to light. Rinses with cool water will clean the eye and ease the pain. Cool compresses may be applied for pain. A small amount of antibiotic ointment may be applied several times a day for two to three days. Ointments made for the eye are best. The patient’s eyes may need to be covered for 24 hours. Snow blindness almost always resolves harmlessly in 24 to 48 hours. Prolonged discomfort is reason to see a physician. The problem can be prevented by water; sunglasses should fit well and have side-shields to block reflected UV light.

Sunburn
The immediate response to overexposure to ultraviolet light is burned skin aging and degenerative skin disorders such as a cancer. First aid for sunburn includes cooling the skin, applying a moisturizer, ibuprofen for pain and inflammation, and staying out of direct sunlight. If blisters form, a doctor should be consulted. Prevention of sunburn includes hats with brims and tightly-woven clothing, sun blocks such as zinc oxide, and sunscreens with a high sun protection factor-SPF 15 or more. Be aware: You can burn on cloudy days, sunlight is most harmful between the hours of 10AM and 3PM, sunlight is most harmful between the hours of 10am and 3pm, and large amounts of UV light are reflected by snow and water.  

 

Diarrhea
The backcountry is home to a multitude of diarrhea-causing life forms: protozoa, bacteria, viruses. They will produce, generally speaking, one of two kinds of diarrhea:
1). Non-invasive diarrhea, with microbial colonies on upper small intestine walls, leading to abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and massive amounts of water, filled with salt and potassium, rushing out of the bowels. 2). Invasive diarrhea, sometimes called dysentery, with bacteria attacking the lower small intestine and colon, causing inflammation, bloody bowel movements, fever, abdominal cramping, and painful release of loose stools.
Whatever the cause, dehydration is the immediate problem with diarrhea. Mild diarrhea can be treated with water or diluted fruit juices or diluted sports drinks. Persistent diarrhea requires more aggressive replacement of electrolytes lost in the stool. Oral dehydration solutions are best for treating serious diarrhea. You can get by, usually, adding one tsp. salt and eight tsp. sugar to a liter of water. The patient should drink about one-fourth of this solution every hour, along with all the water he or she will tolerate. Rice, grains, bananas, potatoes are OK to eat. Fats, dairy products, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided.
Over-the-counter medications for watery diarrhea are available. Prescription medications include Lomotil. Dysentery should be treated with antibiotics, not medicinal plugs.


Dehydration

Water is easily and quickly lost from the body in the outdoors through sweating, urination, defecation, breathings, and diarrhea. Even mild dehydration causes loss of energy, loss of mental acuity, and loss of fun. Mild dehydration shows up as thirst, dry mouth and dark urine. Moderate dehydration adds very dry mouth, reduction of the amount of dark urine, a rapid weak pulse, and remarkable dizziness when the patient stands up. Severe dehydration very very dry mouth, lack of urine, and chock. Treatment of dehydration is explained above (see Diarrhea). Prevention is this: Drink half-liter every morning. Drink a quarter-liter every 15 to 20 minutes during periods of exercise. Drink enough to keep you urine clear.