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Travel injections - Boosters?

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Travel injections - Boosters?

1. Posted by Beckiboo (Respected Member 134 posts) 4y

Hi everyone

I'm heading off for a year in Latin America at the start of 2012. I'm after advice regarding what injections / vaccinations I will need.

I last travelled around India and SE Asia in 2006/2007 and from what I can remember I had Hep B, Tetanus and Diptheria then (about 5 years ago).

Will I need anymore injections? How long will the ones I had 5 years ago last, should I ask my doctor about a booster?

Any advice greatfuly received :o)

2. Posted by LookNetwork (Budding Member 14 posts) 4y

hi,

I think this website might be useful for you, http://www.traveldoctor.co.uk/vaccines.htm , for me it was :)

cheers!

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 4y

Hi Becki,

Definitely make an appointment with your own doctor or with one of the travel health clinics near you since the UK has them.

You should be fine with the vaccinations your received in 2006/2007. Tetanus and diphtheria are good for 10 years each. Hep B can last 15 years if you are not visiting areas where it can be endemic. You doctor may recommend a booster for Hep B.

I highly recommend getting the Hep A series which is two injections given six months apart. But, the second injection can be given as early as the three month mark. Also, if you have paperwork (ie: documentation of your first Hep A injection with dates, etc.), you could do the second injection at a reputable clinic/hospital in Latin America.

Traveling with only having received the first Hep A injection will still give you partial immunity. Hep A is contracted through food, water, dishes/utensils that have not been throughly cleaned and that type of contamination. Restaurants around the world, from swanky to greasy spoons, are the main source of infection for a traveler. Be sure to wash any foods you buy from a market, especially leafy greens and those without a skin you would peel off.

I also recommend the yellow fever and typhoid vaccinations since you'll be traveling long-term. Some countries do require a yellow fever vaccination certificate upon entry. Though, according to forum posts, it seems only a small fraction of travelers have ever been asked to produce them at a border crossing. Personally, I'd hate to be the one who skipped it and then the one asked to show proof of immunization.

As for the typhoid, it's another disease that is transmitted through food and water. Though no vaccine is 100% effective in 100% of the vaccinated population, this one is well worth it too. Nice thing - you can receive either a one-time injection (preferably 2 weeks before you depart) or an oral version, which is four capsules taken at 0, 2, 4 and 6 days. the last capsule taken one week before departure.

I know of at least one TP member who was very grateful she had opted for the typhoid immunization. She still contracted the disease from possibly eating too many under-cooked eggs. Both her symptoms and duration were lessened by the immunization and her antibiotic treatment was also shortened.

For more information on the various diseases and vaccinations, please check out TP's Travel Guide about Travel Health. Each article also contains links to various sites such as the CDC, WHO and others as references

4. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 4y

I forgot to mention - skip the rabies vaccinations. Unless you will be working with wildlife or most of your travel will be in rural areas, use common sense to protect yourself. The vaccinations are expensive and give you approximately 24 additional hours before you need to receive treatment. Avoid petting the skunks and stray animals.

Check out: Travel Health - Rabies

Enjoy your trip!

5. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 4y

D'uh - my mind works in mysterious ways sometimes...

I didn't mention anti-malarials. Though several onsite will argue with me, I do recommend them, especially with long-term travel in endemic areas. Like the rabies vaccinations, anti-malarials are a 'comfort' call on your own behalf. Some have traveled successfully without using them while others have not been quite so lucky.

IF you choose to use a malaria preventative medication, Doxycycline will be your best choice for several reasons:

  • Many Latin America countries have Chloroquine resistant strains of the malaria parasite. (Chloroquine is part of the quinine family of medications.)
  • There are no Doxycycline resistant stains of malaria.
  • Doxycycline (at the anti-malarial dosage level) can be taken for 2 years continuously and has an enormous amount of 'long-term use' information available.
  • It's cheap and available as an 'over-the-counter' medication in most Latin American countries.
  • It does not cause the more severe side effects seen with Malarone or Lariam (mefloquine another quinine 'sister drug).
  • At the anti-malarial dosage, it will not interfere with any other antibiotic treatment you may receive should you need treatment. (Just be sure to tell the docs about any anti-maliarial meds you may choose to use.)

Doxycycline is taken daily. You will continue the meds for 4 weeks once you return home. But, after a year away - an additional 4 weeks is a drop in the bucket. Most find it easier to take the med daily than remembering to take one once a week.

Again, enjoy your travels!

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