I got a lot of mosquito bites in Samoa. At least a dozen a day. The good news is that I gradually became desensitized - they hurt and itched, but not for long.
In Samoa, the mosquitoes were really, really annoying but not dangerous. In Malawi, the mosquitoes carry malaria.
I know very little about malaria. I know enough that every Tuesday morning I take a pill to help me avoid it. It's not 100% but supposed to be good. And, for my age and coloring, a good choice. I take Mefloquine. It has quite a history of side effects, which made me question why the "travel nurse" suggested it as my best option.
First, I only have to take it once a week rather than daily. Second, because I am fair skinned and because other options tend to cause sensitivity to the sun, it seemed a better option. Especially after issues I experienced in Samoa due to sun exposure.
I was warned of a number of side effects. Paranoia. Depression. Confusion. Unusual aches and pains. Bruising. Stomach upset. Disturbing dreams. Weight loss.
Ok, so I've been having some side effects. Not severe, but noticeable. Why the hell couldn't it be weight loss? No, I get stomach upset (or bad street food?), night sweats and disturbing dreams.
I've always had vivid dreams. I've kind of enjoyed them. Sort of like having George Lucas direct my dreams every night. These are a bit more intense. Last night was interesting. I got home from Malawi and was driving the car I purchased after getting home from Samoa. There were a lot of rats in the car. Eating lizards. Hmmm. I had a lot of rats in Samoa and a lot of lizards in both Samoa and Florida.
Then the dream morphed into me missing the final exam for a college class. Wait just a minute. That's not psychosis. Or side effects. That's just stupid anxiety that I've had dreams about since...college. But why was that guy with the knife there?
I've been on the meds for over two months now and the side effects aren't so bad. Hopefully, the drug is protecting me from malaria. People living in Malawi, for the most part, don't take preventative drugs. Some use mosquito nets to sleep under. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes don't wait until bedtime to bite.