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Please help me figure out whether to vax my UN-vaxed kids for month long trip to Peru...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I need help! please!

My chidlren are all not vaxed. We live in Canada and travel to Costa Rica frequently and I have never had any concerns about our decision to not vax. We are now planning a family trip to Peru for about a month this December. We will be volunteering in some poor communities and so we may be more at risk to be exposed to diseases than the average tourist. We will fly into Lima and then spend the rest of our trip in the Sacred Valley area (Cuzco, Machu Picchu and surrounding villages). I have looked into what is considered high risk in these areas and it seems to be: hep a, typhoid, polio and tetnus. I am not sure how available access to good health care will be especially when in the more out of the way villages. I do know that the water will not be safe to drink and we will need to be very careful about food and how the water it is wash or cooked with. I do have extra concerns regarding food and water because, as hard as we might try, my 5 year old, might just forget, and say brush his teeth with unclean/unsafe water.

I haven't read about vax in a long time, but I have always felt very happy with our decision not to vax. may I say btw that my kids seem healthier and get minor illnesses way less frequently than most other kids we know (knock on wood ). But now I find myself considering some of the vax's for travel. I always weighed in my mind the potential risk of the vaccine vs the potential risk of the disease (both your chance of getting it and the risk of serious effects should you get it), and now suddenl;y the risks of these diseases would be high... I am now considering the hep A, typhoid and polio... I only plan to do tetnus if I think it would take a long time to get to help if we needed it (my recollection about tetnus ism you can treat it after the fact, but I don't recall how long you have...) I was a little nervous to see that even mainstream info seems to say the typhoid vax is not very effective... and polio... is the risk only from people gettomg the vax? i.e. I don't think there is any wild polio in the Americas anymore? so what to do... what would you do? what does anyone know about these vax's... help please!!
post #2 of 22
Hmmm that is a tough call. I don't think Id get any of them to be honest although I can't speak to the thyphoid vax as I have not done much research on that one.
post #3 of 22
I spent three weeks in Peru, all the places you will visit. I didn't get any vaccinations and I didn't get sick. I was with a large group of approx 100 people. Of those people, all got sick with the exception of me (I had lived in Hong Kong for 10 years when I went), a lady from South Africa and those coming from other South American countries. The rest from the US, Australia and Europe (yes we were a very international bunch) came down with "gastric distress". No one got typhoid, polio and likely not hep A either. I think those of us that didn't get sick probably had different gut flora given the locations we lived in.

I did once get the typhoid vax, many years before, and it was the worst experience of my life. I can home from the clinic after the shot and collapsed on the floor and couldn't move for the rest of the day. I thought I was going to die. Never again.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
thanks for your replies... its great to hear from some one who's been there!! I have done some more research and think that the typhoid one is not worth it cause its not that effective and has high rate of side effects (as you described...) and polio I think hasn't been recorded in S. Amercia for close to 20 years as far as I can tell. But I am thinking hep a might be good... esp. since we spend so much time travelling overall anyways... I'll read up more on that vax...

uccomama, how careful were you about what you ate and drank? my biggest concern is one of my kids having an oops moment with the water... also did you stay and eat in more high end places? I expect we will stay in some nicer places but will also be staying in some more off the beaten path villages, so...

I am thinking I should also try to boost our immunity in every other way possible... any suggestions there? I am hoping that arriving in Peru after a month in Costa Rica will help have our gut flora somewhat adjusted as compared to if we had just arrived from North America...
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8fulmom View Post
uccomama, how careful were you about what you ate and drank? my biggest concern is one of my kids having an oops moment with the water... also did you stay and eat in more high end places? I expect we will stay in some nicer places but will also be staying in some more off the beaten path villages, so...
I stayed in higher end hotels and definitely ate in better restaurants, no street food. I only drank bottled water, but then so did everyone else who did get stomach bugs. I can't say I took any special immune boosting supplements. I did take liquid oxygen because I was used to living at sea level which I believe helped with altitude adaption.
post #6 of 22
I have a close friend who is an archaeologist (PhD) and his focus is Peru. He spends every digging season there with his family in VERY rustic conditions with native labor and their families. They don't vax and have never had an issue other than the usual colds etc.

Have a safe and happy trip!
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
thanks Fyrestorm... I think I am realizing I need reassurance more than anything do you know what they do about water? do they use a filter? any other advice for a family would be greatly appreciated!!!
post #8 of 22
I would skip the vaccines. It wouldn't seem like a good idea to over stimulate the immune system with a vaccine and then travel abroad and expose your body to all kinds of new things, you know?

It's so easy to get sick from the water. When I stayed in Mexico I got sick even though I never drank their water. But you have to consider what water ice is made of, if there is a cooler of dirty ice and you put your mouth on a bottle that's been resting against it you could get sick. Fresh fruits and vegetables can have parasites. (I got a parasite when in Mexico! )

The second time I went I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I love their food and culture, but after suffering horrible explosive bodily fluids I didn't want to risk it again. The only foods I ate from there were prepackaged things, like ice cream bars or chips. Not healthy, but way better than that miserable sick. I would have considered high end restaurants also, but there weren't any where I went.

Have you considered taking grape fruit seed extract with you? It can be used to disinfect water (though it tastes very bitter) and I read that if you take it once a day it will kill any nasties you might accidentally have ingested.
post #9 of 22
Bottled water ONLY! I would never take a chance in any foreign country with the water. Even if it's perfectly safe, it still may contain things that your system can't cope with.

I spent my senior year of college in Egypt and never drank local water even in a 5 star hotel in the middle of Cairo. I was the weird little blond girl with the HUGE bottle of water!
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
I agree about overstimuloating the immunde system... plus my eldest is likely adhd and I have huge worries about ever giving him vaccines... eek!

Fyrestorm... I totally agree about the water... just wodnering if it is possible to use a filter of some kind cause then I wouldn't have to be responsible for so much plastic consumption

grapefruit seed extract... anyone know more about this??? sound sinteresting...
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8fulmom View Post

Fyrestorm... I totally agree about the water... just wodnering if it is possible to use a filter of some kind cause then I wouldn't have to be responsible for so much plastic consumption
I just called my friend...he doesn't trust the filtering system...they stick to bottles. ITA about the plastic consumption...BPAs etc. but I think you have to weigh pros and cons. I would use the plastic and compensate by being super vigilant about plastic consumption at home to sort of make up for it.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8fulmom View Post
I agree about overstimuloating the immunde system... plus my eldest is likely adhd and I have huge worries about ever giving him vaccines... eek!

Fyrestorm... I totally agree about the water... just wodnering if it is possible to use a filter of some kind cause then I wouldn't have to be responsible for so much plastic consumption

grapefruit seed extract... anyone know more about this??? sound sinteresting...
GSE is a powerful anti parasitic...def something to be taking with you! Use it in water, on fruits/veggies and take internally to prevent any infections.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Fyrestorm... thank you SO much for checking with your friend... I really appreciate it! I think I will depend on bottled water but may look into tablets or somethig in case we get stuck at some point...

anyone know where I can get more info on GSE or other good vitamins/herbs...

:
post #14 of 22
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that most people show immunity to Hep A by kindergarten. You can still provide good wound care should the need arise, even by rinsing it out with bottled water, so I wouldn't worry about tetanus either.
post #15 of 22
A lot of stuff comes up if you google grapefruit seed extract!

This site has some info.

http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/...rapefruit.html

Quote:
“Traveler’s Diarrhea” can be prevented with GSE using several methods. One way is to add 2 drops in a glass of water at noon and at bedtime (mix thoroughly before drinking). If you are eating out, mix 3 - 4 drops in your beverage if what you are drinking has not been boiled just prior to your consumption of it. If you do come down with a case of “Montezuma’s Revenge”, mix 5 - 15 drops in 5 oz. of juice or water and drink that amount 2 to 3 times daily. Children (ages 3 - 10) should mix 2 - 5 drops in a 6 oz. glass of juice and drink that amount once or twice a day. Do not put the GSE directly in your mouth for any reason. A beneficial supplement to the GSE is acidophilus (the “friendly” bacteria found in yogurt), which can be added to your diet by eating products containing it, or by purchasing capsules from the refrigerated section of your health food store. A prolonged case of diarrhea can strip your intestinal tract of a great deal of the beneficial bacteria needed to digest food; without these natural defenses, your body becomes a host for the undesirable bacteria or parasites,allowing them to multiply unchecked. If the diarrhea persists, contact a physician immediately.
post #16 of 22
I think a lot has to do with the individual person. So many people who take all the precautions get sick. Then there is me, using tap water from Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and CR to brush my teeth, and eating the awesome food sold by street vendors as well :, and never once in 4 years of doing it did I ever get sick from it.
post #17 of 22
I think that if you have to ask the question...you should trust your instincts. Think about why you are asking internet strangers.

Have a talk with your OBGYN or family doctor.
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
my instinct in not to vax... and really I came here to be reassured () by all the wise women I have found here in the past after reading fear based info provided by government health agencies... it's also just that since my chidlren are getting older, I haven't researched vax info in about 10 years when I first made the decision not to vax... so I needed to check in again and make sure it all made sense in my own mind, that is, engage in a conversation with people who aren't starting from the place that I'm crazy not to vax in Canada... like try going in to a travel health clinic to talk about Hep a when no one in your family has the basic vax's :

at this point I think I am only considering hep A and need to do more research...and maybe just maybe tetnus, only cause I have 3 boys and I don't know how quick access to medical care we'll have...

I really appreciate the info on GSE I am def going to look into that!
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
so more after researching everything more I am thinking no hep A for the kids but maybe for me and dh, but I am going to get my blood test first to see if I have an immunity already aquired from previous travels...

can anyone tell me more about tetnus? can it be treated after the fact if you are not vaxed? is treatment after the fact effective? how long do you have to administer it? (although I don't feel we would be at any greater risk for tetnus in Peru than here at home, we likely woudn't have as quick or easy access to medical care...)

thanks again!
post #20 of 22
HI! Just wanted to say have a great trip!

I lived in Mexico for 2 winters and never got anything other than the flu. I was also pregnant and had my first son there. I ate street food as long as it was hot and I saw it being cooked. Squeeze of lime and lots of chile does the trick!

Ok, so Peru is a little different. I went to Equador when I was 17 and I did get a yellow fever vaccine. I'm not sure if you'll be in a mosquito ridden area, but I would say use a net every night. I'm not trying to be fear-mongering, it's just a reality of life. We also drank boiled rain-water or bottled water. I have heard of people getting Hep A in their travels, but I don't know on that one. I brushed my teeth with local water the whole time I lived in Mexico and Equador and I'm still alive and kickin'!

I know a family from the Dominican Republic and they eat papaya seeds everyday to kill any stomach bugs. Maybe it's similar to GSE?
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