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Do I really need immunizations for Thailand

Do I really need immunizations for Thailand

Oct 22nd, 2004, 09:47 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Do I really need immunizations for Thailand

I am palnning to take two weeks trip to Thailand with Smartours in February. I noticed that most people on this message board suggest to get immunizations like hepatitis a&b, etc... We are not planning to venture anywhere outside our tour iterinaries. Do I really need all these immunizations? Did anyone travel there without any shots? I'll appreciate all responses.
helen63 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2004, 04:57 AM
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The CDC suggesta the recommended immunizations, and some of us concur. But you should discuss this with your own physician who knows your health history, though might not have sufficient info re foreign travel, or better a Travel Medical Clinic physician (and provide them with your medical history).

Immunization for Tetanus (if you fall on a rusty nail or dirty wood) and Hep-A (for food born problems) are good for 10-years and will serve you well at home. Even in the finest restaurant a food handler might not wash their hands when leaving the bathroom. Hep-B, is for blood born diseases, which I don't believe you will likely have contact, but the new combo A&B called Twinix is often given.

You should also read the CDC information regarding Malaria and while not a problem in major cities, if your itinerary will be visiting border towns - Golden Triangle, Mae Hong Son, etc. - these should be considered and also discussed with your physician or travel medicine clinician. The recommended malaria med for S.E.Asia is Malarone which has few if any side effects when taken properly, daily with food - preferably dairy - cheese, yogurt, milk. One starts these pills two days prior entering area, then daily while in-country and for 1 week upon return - about 21-23 tabs. These are expensive running in the range of $100+/- unless you're covered by a drug plan. For those who can't take Malarone, there is a generic antibiotic called doxycylene, which may be less expensive, but have to be taken for a much longer period of time - 1 months upon returning home; women often have side effects such as yeast infections, so consider this.

But it is important to print out the CDC information and comments from this board, if you wish, so you can discuss with your own health professional, based on your specific health situation. Don't be surprised to get very high prices from a Travel Clinic and maybe even your own physician for the inoculations, so check with your local public health facility who is often less expensive, if they have these inoculations in inventory.

Happy travels.
Oct 23rd, 2004, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,628
Let me second the suggestion of reading the cdc website www.cdc.gov/travel

Actually, part of the answer to this question is that yes, you do need immunizations to stay at home. Everyone should have regular diptheria/tetanus shots (good for 10 years, as sandi says), and you can contract Hep A in any developed country (it's food and water borne).

Another food and water borne illness is Typhoid, and it is also recommended for any place in the tropics. As there is antibiotic resistant typhoid in SE Asia, it is especially important to have this one. Also, people often don't think about making sure they have the appropriate immunizations for childhood diseases (measles, mumps, rubella), but depending on your age, you may need boosters for these as well. (Thailand doesn't have polio, but there are parts of the world that do.)

As sandi mentioned, you are unlikely to be traveling in a malarial risk area with this tour. But if you are read the cdc information carefully before you consult with your physician.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2004, 10:13 AM
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i would strongly suggest that you consult at least your personal doctor if not a travel doctor/clinic....even things like tetnus should be up to date...hep a and b are advised as said above...there may be others, depends on your situation....tours insulate you from nothing....in fact, most tours offer buffets for meals...this is a perfect place to pick something up...food having sat around or not handled properly....
before everyone yells,,,i'm only issuing a potential warning about buffets...same applies to usa and europe....
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2004, 09:15 PM
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Thank you very much for all detailed responses! I really appreciate your help!
helen63 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2004, 09:51 PM
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We are going to Thailand in November. We are on a Gate1 Travel tour, probably going the same places you are going, Helen. Based on CDC information, we got Hepatitis A shots. We are up to date on tetanus shots. We also got a prescription for doxycyclene anti-malaria based on the CDC website information.

Quite by happenstance, we ended up at an international travel medical clinic in Canada (we live in U.S. but close to border) getting flu shots and took the opportunity to consult about our travel to Thailand.

Consultant said definitely Hep A and tetanus. She actually talked us out of the anti-malarial medicine, saying the malaria mosquitoes are out after dark, nd the doxycyclene is very hard on the stomach. I think she rightly guessed we will be in hotels after dark.

She said the biggest risk of mosquitoes is Dengue fever for which there is no vaccination or preventive medicine. Those mosquitoes bite during the day. She said to rely on DEET and clothing. She recommended products by Sawyer which can be purchased at REI. There is a time release for the skin, and one containing Permethrin that you put on your clothes. She said the biggest risk will be on the northern part of the tour where we go to the elephant camp. You will probably go there too.

So we bought the Sawyer time release DEET product AND the Permethrin for the clothes. Read the Permethrin label very carefully. It says to treat ONE outfit, and the effect will last two weeks. One outfit is long sleeved shirt, long pants, socks. Spray only outdoors, dispose of container very carefully, let dry for 2-4 hours. So I bought us some very lightweight shirts and pants (at a thrift store in case we end up throwing them away afterwards), and we will spray them before we go and pack them in tightly sealed bags in the luggage. May only wear them during the elephant trip, but will otherwise be slathered with DEET.
Oct 24th, 2004, 11:45 AM
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Scumpy, thanks for your posting. Actually, I was looking at Gate1 tours also, and yes we are going to almost the same destinations, except you probably will be in Phuket also (depending on a tour you have chosen). Actually, you confirmed what I was going to do - Hepatitis A, tetanus, and a flu shot (the only problem I can't get any flu shot in Chicago). I don't think malaria is a problem there. I have a lot of friends who went there, and did not have any problems. I would love to hear about your trip and how you like traveling with Gate1.
Have a wonderful trip!
helen63 is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 12:57 PM
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we have often encountered mosquitos around the hotel pools at sunset time...good time to be careful

looks like you will not get a flu shot in usa....how about in thailand??
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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flu shot will not help from avian flu

Just kidding.
Avian flu is under control we were told in Thailand although Thai's tourist reps complained many americans canceled trips. Flu is limited to certain farms which did not report the case properly to health officials. Most poultry is raised in closed environment. Plus it is cooked, unlike beef, you do not eat rare chicken. At hotels, They cooked eggs at certain temperature. The virus is destroyed under hot temp.

In any case, check with CDC website, they have recent health info.

Just do not go on chicken farms.

emtravel is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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Sophia, thanks for the advice. We are not going to get close to raw chickens. It is good to know that virus gets killed during cooking. I think they have one case of human-to-human trasnmission (girl got infected from the a chicken, and mom got infected from the girl). I don't think this should be a problem.
And I think I should wait until I get to Thailand to get my flu shot . Not flu shots available around here.
helen63 is offline  
Oct 24th, 2004, 05:14 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Personally over the years I've never taken any for Thailand...but had to take 4 shots and get malarone for my trip to West Africa...so now a lot of the shots I took for Ghana will work in Thailand.Check with your medical group.I don't know where you live or what health care system you're in but if you have Kaiser Permanente health care,the largest HMO in California, they have a whole travel unit where you just call and tell them what countries you're going to and they send out a computer print out of what you need and they'll contact the Kaiser nearest you and have all the shots ready for you...no appointment necessary...plus I had 21 Malarone pills...usually around $135. which I only had to pay $5.00 for.Their travel unit is excellent. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  

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