hey! my mother and i are planning yet again another trip abroad this summer, but this time we're headed to Ecuador!!
Im very excited about it, but we're not sure what kind of shots or pills we need to take in order to go...
i've heard from different people that you need to take malaria pills, yellow fever shots, hep A and B shots, etc...
does anyone know the best kind of malaria pills to get?! (the most effective with the least amount of side effects?)
any input would be helpful... thanks in advance!!
Nice to see you posting again!!!
I highly recommend the Hep A&B vaccinations. If you haven't taken them before, they will be a series of injections over a 6 month period. Though, if you leave before the 6 months have passed, you can finish them upon your return. After the initial series, a yearly booster is a good idea.
Hep A - 2 injections at 0 and 6 months
Hep B - 3 injections at 0, 1 and 6 months
Yellow Fever vaccinations are recommended if traveling east of the Andes Mountains, but are not necessary for anywhere else in Equador, including the Galapagos Islands. (Personally, I would pass on the Yellow Fever jabs.)
Anti-malarial prophylactics recommended for the area are Larium (mefloquine), Malarone, or doxycycline. Again, personally, I would choose the doxycycline. It will have the least number of side effects. Larium has side effects that may include "strange dreams" and more people suffer from nausea even when taken with food. Malarone is quite expensive and no more or less effective than the doxycycline. Since you won't be taking the drug longer than a few weeks, you don't have to worry about many of the long-term use side effects. Just be sure to use sunscreen as doxy can cause an increased sensitivity to sunlight. (You will burn more quickly.)
I recommend anti-malarials, especially if you are not consistent with using a mosquito repellent. (I forget all the time.) If you are diligent in the usage, then an anti-malarial may not be needed. I'm sure others will respond with their experiences too. I take the "safe rather than sorry" outlook on anti-malarials. But, many people have done their trips without incidence and without the use of prophylactic medications. (It's just the biologist in me...)
Hope this helps!
CDC Yellow Book
CDC - Tropical South America
Thanks so much Isadora!! I will pass along the information to my mom... I appreciate the advice! It's so much better to get someone's personal opinion on subjects, because it's more personal than what's usually "recommended"... thanks again