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

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Old 08-28-2009, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!!

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Old 08-28-2009, 02:03 PM
 
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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.

If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson.

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Old 08-28-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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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.

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Old 08-28-2009, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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...

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Old 08-28-2009, 03:32 PM
 
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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.

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Old 08-28-2009, 03:50 PM
 
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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!

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Old 08-28-2009, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!!!

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Old 08-28-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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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.

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Old 08-28-2009, 04:51 PM
 
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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!

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Old 08-28-2009, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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...

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Old 08-28-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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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.

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Old 08-28-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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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.

If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson.

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Old 08-28-2009, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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...

:

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Old 08-28-2009, 07:36 PM
 
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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.

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Old 08-28-2009, 07:43 PM
 
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A lot of stuff comes up if you google grapefruit seed extract!

This site has some info.

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

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“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.

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Old 08-28-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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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.

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Old 08-29-2009, 01:24 AM
 
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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.
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Old 08-29-2009, 05:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!

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Old 08-30-2009, 02:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!

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Old 09-01-2009, 12:55 AM
 
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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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Old 09-11-2009, 02:59 AM
 
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I got the vaccines before I started to research vaccines. I travel to Peru a lot. My husband is Peruvian. I go down by myself or in groups. Some trips I get sick, some trips I don't. Mainly, it's so hard to avoid bad water. I used to be very anal about what I ate and drank, but I find that even the more careful people get sick, so now I'm more lax. But, I get sick. I don't brush my teeth or wash my toothbrush with the water. I always drink bottled water or boiled. But, I can't resist some of the street food when I'm hungry- a real meat hamburger with fries on the sandwich for only 30 cents. Yum!

The stomach illness is bad, but there's no vaccine for it. Try to be careful to avoid the water is all I can say. To me the typhoid vaccine was worth it for this reason. I believe that disease was passed along in food or water. I could be wrong because I've done no research. All I know is I'm a baby after that shot. It hurts more than most other shots I've had and it's only good for 2 years. There is a live virus version in a pill form that is more effective and last for 5 years. I know Kaiser has it, but the health departments I've been to before I travel do not have it.

Yellow fever I believe is a required vaccine for some parts of Peru, but I don't believe that is on your list of travels.

Polio is non-exsitant in our half of the globe, so I'd say it's safe to skip.

Hep A- I don't know. I haven't researched it. I got the shot.

Tetanus- you're not far from medical care it sounds, so you should be fine. Unless you are very far away from cities, doctors abound as do cell phones and internet. Villages you visit might only be an hour away from the city. I don't know.

I've personally known a few people on trips get malaria. They have pills to prevent that with a bunch of side effects. But, I slept in mosquito nets with bug spray and still managed to get eaten alive when I was far out in the jungle, so the pills were worth it to me. Some people refused to take them because the side effects were bad. But, some people got malaria. But, your not in mosquito prone territory I don't believe.

So, I've gotten stomach bugs, the flu, and I seem to always come back with a cold. Nothing major. Malaria was bad for those who got it and my pastor at the time seemed to always come back extremely sick with very high fevers and almost delusional. I don't know why he'd get so sick. I think mainly it was stomach related. But, we always ate with the people.

I hate to post this to make you worried or anything. You're going to visit beautiful areas and at altitude way from the jungle you should have a lot less trouble. I know you'll enjoy your trip.
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Old 09-11-2009, 03:11 AM
 
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I never even look at recommended vaccines when traveling. And I've traveled to MANY undeveloped countries, staying in remote areas where the disease risk was high. The worst I've ever felt was, ironically, when I took malaria pills. I had a psychotic episode on those pills, and thought I was going to die and that, moreover, everyone was out to kill me. Like, seriously, it was a real psychotic break from reality. That psychotic break from reality was worse than when I actually got malaria - though, I did get the milder form of it.

I wouldn't take a newborn into such areas. But, my dp and I are planning on traveling and living on a sailboat once our child turns 5. We'll definitely be going to some "high risk" areas. We're not planning on vaxing.

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