Travel Immunizations

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by jmrich1432, Jun 10, 2011.  |  Print Topic

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Do you follow the CDC guidelines for travel immunizations?

  1. Yes

    81.3%
  2. No

    18.8%
  1. jmrich1432
    Original Member

    jmrich1432 Silver Member

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    A friend and I were discussing travel immunizations and our respective takes on them: I've been vaccinated against just about everything, she is willing to take her chances. There are some things I'm just not willing to risk, regardless of the probability. I've met lots of other travelers who take my friend's approach though. A few months ago in Zimbabwe an American couple was telling me that RX malaria pills are worthless and they buy herbal remedies to protect themselves once they arrive.

    These discussions got me wondering what other FF/frequent travelers do. Do you make sure you're up on everything before each trip? Carry Cipro and other RXs "just in case?" What, if any, herbal or over-the-counter remedies do you recommend?

    Personally, I take Melatonin on the plane (OTC) and love my emergen-C and multi-vitamins, but I also carry Cipro and any other RXs I may need (Malarone for malarial areas and Metronidazole for areas with giardia). Like I said above, I've been vaccinated for just about everything the CDC recommends for the areas I've been to and I consult my GP if I'm going to a new area. Maybe I'm paranoid!
     
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  2. jwsky
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    jwsky Silver Member

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    I am with you on all accounts. And I do not think it is paranoid. On the other hand, I do not dwell on the possiblilties getting sick. It is best, to be prepared, use common sence about eating and hygien, and have just enjoy your travels.
     
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  3. sunseeker
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    sunseeker Silver Member

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    About 30 years ago I knew someone who contracted malaria while on safari. Since then I have paid attention to the CDC recomendations and have a travel clinic I can call. Once I was on a cruise to some places in Central America, read the ports we were visiting seemed safe. I remember reading that Guatemala was reasonably safe, but you should take malaria meds if you went to the Peten (don't know how to accent the e) area. I found myself on a side trip by plane and bus to Tikal Mayan ruins and saw a sign out the window that read something like Welcome to Peten. Now I try to better anticipate exactly where I might wander.
     
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  4. kayet
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    kayet Gold Member

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    Depends on how long I plan to be gone and how comfortable I am seeking out local remedies in that country (herbal, OTC medicines labeled in languages I may only partly understand, etc.) My general rule is to avoid all vaccinations that aren't absolutely required as my body tends to react poorly to them (immune system overreacts to many substances, aka severe allergies). I'm more likely to take antibiotics/anti-malarial medicines with me if I plan to be gone a long time. If I am going to be home in a couple of weeks I chance it.
     
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  5. wombat18
    Original Member

    wombat18 Silver Member

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    Eek. I hate needles!

    But, I've just caught up on my shots. Other than the painful arm from yellow fever, I just felt a bit like I had the flu for three days. Thank gosh my health savings account covers the cost ... all totaled it was over $500.
     
  6. BurBunny
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    BurBunny Silver Member

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    I generally do on the serious ones, sometimes take chances on the lesser ones.

    YF, absolutely - until recently, I'd chosen to avoid places like Brazil, as the risk of the shot (I'm immunosuppressed) wasn't worth it to me for just there. But now that I'm doing travel in Africa, suddenly the side effects were worth it. Hugely sore arm for about a week, flu symptoms and low grade fever for a few days, and now I'm good to go for 10 years.

    Don't ever risk it with malaria. I take a chloroquine medication daily, but in areas (most) of the world where that's not sufficient, Malarone is my drug of choice.

    MMR I have lifetime immunity based on current research, just got a polio booster for the same. Hep A/B and Typhoid I keep current every couple years. Flu shot I get as soon as available.

    However, on more minor risks like rabies, tetanus, etc., I don't. A physician told me not to worry about tetanus, as likely if anything were to happen to me, unless I had proof of current vaccination, in a hospital they'd give it to me again anyway. Rabies I'll know if I'm bitten or scratched and can take the regimen then.

    Travel with a Z-Pack and Cipro along with a pharmacy's worth of OTC remedies. Travel's tough on the body, and with an immune system out of whack, best to be prepared to avoid suffering.
     
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  7. jmrich1432
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    jmrich1432 Silver Member

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    I haven't been to an area requiring YF yet, but I have heard it's painful! I will be travelling to Brazil in about 9 months, so I will have to receive it before then. There's a great travel clinic near me that carries most of the immunizations one may need, my GP has sent me there several times as he tends to not carry all the shots.

    This is a great suggestion! I am quite a fan of researching (I just get so excited!), but I like to leave a lot of things to be decided. I will have to remember to do some extra CDC research on different area next time!
     
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  8. adexpert
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    adexpert Silver Member

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    I've always followed the CDC recommendations pretty religiously. When I've had to go someplace for work that required meds or shots it's always been paid for anyway so I'm not sure why I'd even second guess it.
     
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  9. BurBunny
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    BurBunny Silver Member

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    I'm a big believer in the dedicated travel clinics if you have them available, even if your GP does carry (or can get) the vaccinations. They know the current guidelines, can best discuss the side effects you might encounter, help you evaluate which malaria treatment is appropriate (if necessary) and generally give you good advice as to overall travel health.

    By the way, for those thinking about trying for a medical waiver of the YF shot, be aware that doing so may limit other countries you may visit. Several will not allow you in if you've visited a YF zone with a medical waiver. Several notable ones are Chile, Ecuador, China and many others. While I was eligible for the waiver, I was unwilling to limit my travel by getting one, so bucked up and got the shot. I did have a moderate reaction, but had prepared for it and it's SO worth it. The YF zones are some of the most interesting in the world :) I can't wait!
     
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  10. jmrich1432
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    jmrich1432 Silver Member

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    Thanks for the information! I definitely don't want to limit myself :)
     
  11. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    I check the travel advisories for developing nations prior to travel and have consulted with colleagues regarding certain areas and what precautions i needed.

    When I lived in Toronto, I used to use one of local hospitals which had a Centre for Travel and Tropical Medicine.

    The only thing I missed out on getting, but should have considered was a rabies vaccine (which I had to get along with some rather painful immunoglobulin shots in the bum!)
     
  12. BurBunny
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    BurBunny Silver Member

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    Just recently had to make the decision regarding rabies, and decided the odds of needing it were small enough I'd risk it. When you're already a pin cushion, the prospect of yet another needle seems daunting, and the mind looks for excuses to minimize the immediate pain. :D
     
  13. secretsea18
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    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    I would not skimp on the tetanus booster. You will get a tetanus toxoid shot if you get a bad cut... here in the US, and in most of the more developed areas in the world .... but it may not be given in the more remote/rural/undeveloped areas of the world.
    The booster is recommended once every 10 years. If you have never seen an actual case of tetanus, you may think... oh how rare, what is the likelihood I'd get lockjaw.... but if you have treated tetanus victims, you would the shot in a heartbeat. ;)

    Rabies... would be a pass.....:)
     
  14. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    Waking this thread up from deep-sleep :)

    Areas covered and to be covered in coming weeks and months - From Warzone to Amazon to Deepfreeze

    Yellow Fever, Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid, Flu.
    My primary Health Doc is a cardiologist by training and practice, he says take all !!! Did I miss anything ?

    Rabies are covered. Flu taken.
     
  15. jgg630

    jgg630 Silver Member

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    My doctor advised me today to get tetanus with pertussis for whooping cough. Evidently there has been a severe outbreak
     
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  16. spesalvi

    spesalvi Gold Member

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    I just went to Brazil (Rio) about 2 months ago and took the risk and didn't get any shots. Granted I had most of those shots covered already except for Hep A I think, but I dont recall YF was on the list for Brazil.
     
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  17. anileze

    anileze Gold Member

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    All guide books strongly recommend YFV for Amazon. Plus, many other countries would want to see YFV certificate if they see a Manaus/Brazil stamp in your passport within the last few weeks of your visit.
     
  18. jonspencer

    jonspencer Silver Member

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    only a small % of people get side effects from yellow fever shots

    after getting my YF shot (mandatory) for a Ghana trip, I found myself sitting in a meeting with some government ministers, with the AC on full blast, sweating like a _________ and I imagined through my high fever, a few black flies landing on my lips, it was not pleasant :mad:

    not too keen on shots after that and I travel everywhere but ALWAYS get your 'hep' shots, no excuses
     
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  19. spesalvi

    spesalvi Gold Member

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    Oh..well I was mosty in Rio, enjoying the beach.:)
     
  20. Tad's Broiled Steaks

    Tad's Broiled Steaks Silver Member

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    I hear that. A few hotels that I've stayed at in China happened to have random discotheques with debris scattered around. Likely from those common times where a contractor came to fix something and didn't clean it up...
     
  21. clscholes

    clscholes Silver Member

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    As someone who has had encephalitis before (which is in the same vein as meningitis as far as severity), take the vaccines...with the exception of the rabies series which runs over 600 by itself, everything else should be taken...it's just smarter. That way if you get something, you are taking Cipro or a Z-Pak, not being medi-flighted to a hospital that can't help you.
     

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