You should not miss to take a small first-aid kit for travelers with you to Madagascar. Many places lack doctors and hospitals, and mainly also health education. We cannot recommend to look for a doctor in small villages – often enough, you will not even find one. In large cities such as Antananarivo, there are hospitals with European standards, and almost all larger cities provide pharmacies.
Generally, you should be able to treat a cold, small injuries or headaches respectively have medication available just in case. Please ask the advice of a travel medicine clinic and your family doctor concerning medication matching for you. Nevertheless, the following should be part of your first-aid kit:
Let it be a sprained ankle, a scratch at your leg or toothaches: For any case, you should bring some pain killers.
Just to be safe – in most cases, you will not need it – a broadband antibiotic has to be inside your luggage. In best case choose one you tolerate. It is not the best idea to notice your penicillin allergy in Madagascar for the first time.
An unwashed tomatoe salad, the unusual food or simply some onions too much in your tasty diner: Montezuma’s revenge can hit anyone during holidays in the tropics. So that your holidays do not become a challenge who reaches the toilet first, every traveler – no matter if sensible to food incompatibilities or not – should definitely have medicaiton against diarrhea at hand. Additionally, charcoal tablets in sufficient amounts may be of practical use. In case that your diarrhea lasts longer than one or two days, Madagascans know ColiCalm, a medication freely available in all pharmacies of the country. It is a mixture of an antibiotic, charcoal and an opium derivative. But by the way, the best prevention of diarrhea in Madagascar is classically washing your hands before meals and not eating uncooked food, ice cubes or ice cream.
Medication against vomiting is of advantage if you always had problems with curvy car drives or if you got sick when driving by boat. Sometimes it is even useful during the flights.
No worry, you do not need to carry along a whole first-aid suitcase. But at least bring some patches, a wound ointment and a skin desinfection agent. Just what you need for little ailments.
One of the most important topics in Madagascar! Malaria, dengue fever and Chikungunya are only three diseases that mosquitoes can transmit on the red island. These diseases can be lethal if untreated – but this is no reason to panic, since most mosquito bites remain without consequences. However, you need protection against mosquitos everywhere in Madagascar, especially around the humid east coast and in the north of the island.
Among your precautions, there should be a mosquito spray containing DEET, such as Antibrumm forte. Most popular mosquito sprays used in Europe against mosquitons are not useful at all in the tropics. Also remember to have a calming ointment in case one of those little beasts reached to bite you. Additionally, it is highly recommendable to ask your travel doctor to prescribe you malaria medication (e.g. Malarone), that you will ingest daily during your whole travel. Please do not try these medications for the first time in Madagascar! Some travelers do not tolerate some of the malaria prophylaxis medication well (e.g. Lariam) and thus may dampen the joy of traveling. Finally, always use mosquito nets if available and wear long clothes in the evening as we already described in this article.
Medication of personal use
Of course, medication you always need at home and you regularly ingest, should be part of your personal first-aid traveler kit. Insuline, high blood pressure therapeutics and medication against allergies should be at hand in sufficient amounts – if you regularly need those. Please consult your family doctor to talk about taking medications in the tropics and possible emergency situations. And please also inform your travel agency in advance that you need e.g. cooling possibilities for your medication.
In the end, a good message for all people suffering from allergies: Usually, those people have no problem at all with the unusual grasses and pollens in Madagascar. Generally, noone should abstain from a Madagascar travel if he is not suffering from heavy chronical diseases. With a little prevention and medication in case, you can enjoy your travel to the full.