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Vaccines/malaria pills???


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  • Added on: January 7th, 2010
I'm travelling to Central America for about a month (Guatamala, Honduras mostly, although meeting people in Costa Rica at the tail end and flying out of there)

Some people say that anti-malaria pills shoudl be taken as well as a typhoid vaccine. Are there any opinions on this here? I am pretty firmly anti-vaccine in my personal health beliefs, although they have their place at times. I'm also somewhat concerned with the cost of these things as I don't have good 'ol USA-style medical insurance at this time.

Does anyone think this stuff is necessary?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: January 7th, 2010
I've been to every country in Central America on about a half-dozen trips, and have never taken antimalarials or had yellow fever shots. I took antimalarials (doxycycline) in Indonesia, and hated the side effects.


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  • Added on: January 7th, 2010
I have also traveled a bit in Central America and have brought anti-malaria pills twice, then stopped taking them mid-way because of the side-effects . The past 3 times I haven't bothered to bring them..no malaria yet. I got my yellow fever shot my first trip to panama...I'm pretty sure it was completely unnecessary.

I do always make sure that my tetanus shot is up to date...rusty metal objects are plentiful in Central America, especially in coastal areas. I just got one this fall w/o insurance...I think it was $80 for the actual vaccine and $80 to see the doctor. I have to imagine that you could get it done for less at a hospital...any one know about this?


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Location: Traveling for a while away from Playa San Diego SV

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  • Added on: January 7th, 2010
I took them in CA last year as I am doing in SE Asia this year but everyone has to make their own choice. Different strokes for different folks, there is no right or wrong answer to this question IMHO.
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  • Added on: January 8th, 2010
I just made an appt. at a travel medicine clinic through the local university hospital. My county's health department also offers a travel medicine clinic. I will cost me $70.00 for a 40 minute consultation plus the cost of the vaccines.

I will be working in Honduras for 2 weeks followed by 3 days of liesure on Roatan. I'm planning on getting typhoid and Hep A vaccines as well as anti malarial meds. I already have my Hep B and Tetanus.

What exactly are these side affects associated with the anti-malarial meds?


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  • Added on: January 8th, 2010
Typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, and hepatitis are a good idea when you go near jungle areas.

You've forgotten the most important in many ways. Tetanus requires a booster every 10 years, I believe.

Rusty nails exist on beaches all over the world, jungles or no.

Malaria? Last time I heard, Malaria medicine does not cure Malaria, and the side effects of the most effective ones ensure that it can't be taken long term.

There is a big debate about malaria medicine. If too many tourists run around taking medicines, strains resistant to those medicines invariably develop, making it more and more expensive for the natives to take the medicines on a curative basis, as recommended by many tropical health specialists.

Me? I've been to Tikal, Copan, and yes, Utila, and never took any anti-malarials. The trick is to avoid getting bitten if possible. This means long sleeved shirts and pants, and don't go out at dawn and dusk, when they swarm.

Course, it's your decision,


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  • Added on: January 8th, 2010
Really depends on where you are going. Not sure about the risks in Central America but I know that if you are heading to Africa, I feel you should most definitely take anti-malarials. It's very dangerous there. My husband was taking the anti-malarials and he got malaria, doctor said the type of malaria (which goes to the brain) he got would have killed him without the anti-malarial. The best ones are usually obtained outside the US because our certification process takes too long and the pills become less effective because malaria mutates.

Side effects depend on the drug. I found I had looser bowels and my hair got thin. Some people have written that they have had unpleasantly vivid dreams. You need to look up which ones are the best ones currently and then look up their side effects.

There's more threads in the health section on malaria. Lots of people have weighed in on it.


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  • Added on: January 8th, 2010
In one of my previous lives I was an R.N., so I have made what I consider to be a fairly informed decision as to necessary medical precautions. To me, it is mandatory to have Hep A & B and Tetanus up to date. As far as I am concerned they are necessary, even if you never leave home. I have lived in Guatemala for 10 years without other injections or preventive medications. The only medical problem I have had in that time was a simultaneous bacterial and amoebic dysentery infection that was so overwhelming that I was hospitalized for three days.(This experience taught me that cantaloupes
must also be sterilized with a chlorine product)
My advice is to take as many precautions as necessary for you not to have any medical worries that will interfere with your trip.
----------------------------------------- I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.-Mark Twain

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