Do I need shots?

Oct 31st, 2008, 06:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 12
Do I need shots?

I am traveling to the Cape Town area and Kruger. Just went to a travel clinic where they recommend Hepatitus A and a Polio booster in addition to malaria pills. Do I need these?
Thanks for your help.
callmesam is offline  
Oct 31st, 2008, 07:26 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
You can get HepA anywhere, even if you never leave home. And though Polio has technically been eradicated, there are occasional outbreaks somewhere.

The HepA inoc (2/jabs, the 2nd about 6/mo-1/yr after the first; 1st should be taken about 1/mo prior travel to be effective); it's good for 10/years.

Polio booster should last the rest of your life.

These are two of the least expensive* inocs, which I have (and some others). I'd go for it.

*your primary care doc can probably do these, and at less cost than a travel clinic, so check.
sandi is offline  
Nov 1st, 2008, 12:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 378
I would recommend a hepatitis A vaccination. It is recommended by CDC if one is traveling internationally, and is a recommended vaccination during childhood in the U.S. It will protect you if you travel to many areas of the world.

The water sources in Kruger and Cape Town are safe--I drink the tap water there. However, a lot of the South African population has been infected with hepatitis A. Many of these infections likely occurred in rural areas, during childhood, when the disease is much less severe or even asymptomatic. Those at risk of getting sick are likely those who are in higher socioeconomic levels who were not exposed during childhood. On that basis, I personally chose to be vaccinated--just in case.

I don't know as much about the polio booster. Polio is not yet eradicated, but it's very close to it. Your chances of getting polio are very, very small. There was an outbreak in Namibia in 2006, and therefore it is theoretically possible that one could happen in South Africa. However, as a traveler you would not likely be at risk.

I got a polio booster because in my opinion, you're supporting polio eradication efforts worldwide when you pay to get the vaccine.

Just my 2 cents.

Gritty is offline  
Nov 1st, 2008, 07:13 PM
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When it comes to your health I think it's best to err on the side of caution and get the recommended shots.
P_M is online now  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 05:48 AM
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Roll up your sleeve CallMeSam. Then enjoy your trip.
atravelynn is offline  
Dec 8th, 2008, 05:51 AM
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Posts: 136
It was recommended that we take Malaria pills.
I am wary, because of side effects
Is it necessary?
We have traveled to the Orient, and Southeast Asia many times without taking them, but for some reason our Travel Agent is quite insistent.
We will be in South Africa in Mid January.
Is there a problem with Malaria in South Africa at the moment?
erly is offline  
Dec 8th, 2008, 06:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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South Africa is a big country.
Where in SA are you visiting?

If only Capetown and Jo'berg, then no malaria tabs needed. If on safari in the "malaria free" areas - none needed.

If to Kruger, then yes!

Malaria is a nasty disease if contracted! If you talk yourself into "getting sick" from the pills, you will. Most travelers, have no side-effects whatsoever. Always remember to take these with food, preferably dairy... but not on empty stomach.

Don't fool around with your health.
sandi is offline  
Dec 8th, 2008, 09:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 136
We will be at Lion Sands Ivory Camp and from there to the Rovos Train to Capetown.
We will be spending a week in the vicinity.
From there to George at the Pezula Resort
We will be returning by the Garden route to JB to catch our flight, but will not be spending time there.
I am not that nervous about taking the pills, but have heard some weird stories about them, and we are senior citizens.
erly is offline  
Dec 8th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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erly - Lion Sands is located in Kruger. Kruger is a malaria area. Good idea to protect yourself.

The "weird" reactions are most often associated with Lariam, which isn't often recommended these days. The side-effects are can be weird or interrupted sleep, not recommended for individuals with psychological problems themselves or in their families; some users have no problems whatsoever.

However, the newer Malarone, has few side-effects and easily tolerated, if taken appropriately. With food, either morning breakfast with dairy products; others prefer dinner time so if any reaction they'll sleep thru it.

"We're seniors." Well, anyone over 50 can be included in that group; they're also the most traveled individuals around the world.

As with any meds or inocs, always discuss with your physician as it relates to your personal health history.
sandi is offline  
Dec 9th, 2008, 01:31 AM
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Hi CallmeSam

I go to a travel doctor because they (if they are good) should know what is required for me for where I am going. So yes I would take what they recommended.

Hi Erly

I will be in the Sabi Sands Reserve just after Xmas and I definitely take malaria medication.

Kind regards

KayeN is offline  
Dec 10th, 2008, 04:04 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 291
why tempt fate? and, why worry once you're there? do it and go knowing that you're protected for this trip and all those for the next ten years!
aknards is offline  
Dec 10th, 2008, 05:45 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 509
1. Hepatitis vaccine now good for 20 years (if you've had the full series), maybe longer. That's a good investment if you'll continue to travel.
2. Polio has NOT been eradicated; both Nigeria and India have significant numbers of cases each year. Other coutnries in Africa also report cases; many are imported from Nigeria. The Polio booster is good for the rest of your life -- again a pretty good investment.
3. Erly: in SE Asia your risk of Dengue Fever is much higher than malaria; the reverse is true in Africa.
skibumette is offline  
Dec 10th, 2008, 06:16 AM
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skibum -

thanks for Dengue reminder. Unlike Malaria mossies that bite from dusk-to-dawn, the Dengue mossies bite during daytime hours. All the more reason to keep covered and/or apply the repellent.
sandi is offline  
Dec 10th, 2008, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 260
thanks all for this discussion
i did not know that there were Dr who specialized in travel medicine.
i checked on the CDC website, and they gave me a list of Drs in my state, and then i contacted a friend living nearby and asked if that is what she used, and she highly recommended a nurse practioner on the CDC list. I never would have gone that route, and it already makes me feel safer.
thanks for the continuing education I am getting from all of you.
amycyma is offline  
Dec 11th, 2008, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 136
Thanks all.
We will take the Malaria pills.
This is such a helpful site.
erly is offline  
Dec 12th, 2008, 01:24 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 993
Hi Erly

I think that is a good idea! Please don't discount Dengue Fever in the Sabi Sands, as I got it there in June 2003. It took me nearly 12 months to get over the side effects caused by Dengue Fever. So be very cautious sitting outside in the middle of the day!

Kind regards

KayeN is offline  

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