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Costa Rica travel. . are vaccinations really necessary?

Costa Rica travel. . are vaccinations really necessary?

Old Feb 28th, 2013, 10:08 AM
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Costa Rica travel. . are vaccinations really necessary?

I have an opportunity to go to some areas of Costa Rica for a week. San Jose, Arenal, Monteverde and Guanacaste. I want to go so badly but I am against vaccinations.. my kids aren't even vaccinated. I had vaccinations as a kid whatever was around back then.. in the 80's and I did have the DTP a few years ago when they told me to get a tetanus shot again but I don't want to put anything else into my body just to take a trip. I need some advice as to what I should do.. I was told Hepatitis A and Malaria vaccines are recommended. . do people travel there without vaccinations and how likely am I to get sick if I go and don't get any of them before hand? or should I just not go? any advice/help I'd appreciate it. Thanks
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 10:23 AM
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We are going tomorrow. My doctor recommended Hep A which I got. she did not say anything about Malaria. I don't think there is a vaccine for Malaria, just pills, which have some nasty side effects. I am not against vaccines, but I wouldn't want to take the malaria pills. My doctor based her advice on the CDC, which said malaria prevention isn't necessary for the areas we are going. (Arenal and Manueal Antonio). Having said that, I have a few relatives who have gone to CR and I don't think any of them were vaccinated.

As an aside, whooping cough is making a comeback and they are now recommending everyone get boosters for that in the US. It is part of the new Tetanus booster so you may have had it. It can be deadly for a baby. I know of one baby who got it a few years ago and recently met an adult who has been sick for months with it.
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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Thanks yeah i would never take the malaria pills either.. I've heard taking vitamin b1 a few weeks before can prevent mosquito bites not sure if it works but I might try that.. i will do some research on the hep a vaccinations...
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 10:44 AM
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Most people do not take anything for malaria since it's not very prevalent in the areas that most people visit. Our doctor recommended Hep A, so we did that, but it isn't required. We've taken several trips to CR and have never gotten sick.
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 12:24 PM
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13 trips, have not had any vaccines. You're going to pretty touristy areas where malaria is not an issue. Do wear some type of bug spray though to fight against dengue.
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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Absolutely not necessary. Those are heavily touristed areas.

We've been six times, zero vaccinations.
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 05:38 AM
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Here's what the CDC has to say:

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/costa-rica.htm

Hepatitis A is endemic in all of Central America. That means it's always around. It's easily transmitted. No matter how meticulous you may be with your personal hygiene, you are only as safe as the personal hygiene of those preparing and serving your food.
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 05:55 AM
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Our doc said anyone going to Central or South America should have the Hep A; it consists of two shots, given six months apart. The first gives you a degree of protection, but you need the second one to be fully protected.
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 07:14 AM
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i'm going in may so that is only a few months away.. so does it make sense to get the hep a vaccine?
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 09:54 AM
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We did the same thing, went in a couple of months before our trip, and the doc said to go ahead because the first shot will give you some protection. We haven't had the sixth month follow up yet.
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 10:38 AM
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I've read that you get about 85% protection after the first dose of Hep A vaccine. But, I don't have a source for the info.
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 10:40 AM
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"I've heard taking vitamin b1 a few weeks before can prevent mosquito bites not sure if it works but I might try that" tested and it doesnt work.

Asking medical questions of perfect strangers on a travel forum isnt good judgement. You should ask someone trained in the stuff.
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 01:29 PM
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Jean, I've never understood what that meant. Does it mean you are 85% less likely to get it, or that if you do get it it will be 85% less severe?
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 02:27 PM
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Hi. I work in a hospital that has a travel clinic. My friend (MD) recommended I go to our clinic prior to traveling to CR. He went prior to his trip to Nosara region...he just got back and loved it btw. Today I went to the clinic. I was told I did NOT need malaria vaccination or pills based on the places I was going...Guanacaste and La Fortuna (Arenal area). I was given a presciption for cipro (diarrhea medication) to take only after 3 days of an episode. I was given the hepatitis A shot (first one) and typhoid shot. I was told of things to pack: bug spray with 30-50%deet, head lamps, mini first aid kit, thermometer, tylenol or advil, hand sanitizer, blister medic, adaptor plugs, pepto bismal or immodium...I feel more at ease after having gone to the clinic. I don't like medications or vaccines either but would rather be safe than sorry. Also most hospitals are requiring their staff to be vaccinated against the flu or wear a mask. Hope this helps!
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 03:27 PM
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Good list, but we've never needed adapter plugs anywhere in CR.
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 05:00 PM
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suzy I wonder why they rec'd a typhoid vaccine when it is not an issue in CR?

Katzger - it's always good judgement to question questionable information. You wouldn't believe how many first-timers I've talked to over the years who were told by their Dr's to get a laundry list of vaccines prior to their trip. Many Dr's will prescribe malarial precautions no matter where the traveler is going, even to an area where malaria does not exist.
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 06:53 PM
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Not sure either Tully...I did question it myself and was told I needed it. Thank you for your input volcanogirl as I was going to contact my hotel about adaper plugs.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 02:19 AM
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"it's always good judgement to question questionable information. You wouldn't believe how many first-timers I've talked to over the years who were told by their Dr's to get a laundry list of vaccines prior to their trip. Many Dr's will prescribe malarial precautions no matter where the traveler is going, even to an area where malaria does not exist."

I agree completely but again asking a complete stranger in a chat room is not the way to go about medical advice. Might as well take a power pyramid along.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2013, 05:42 AM
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If you read the CDC site, it does recommend typhoid vaccine for travel to Costa Rica:

"Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in Mexico and Central America, especially if staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water."

I'm curious why people are getting the injection, rather than the oral vaccine. The injection only lasts two years, the oral form five years.

As for 85% efficacy, I'm not exactly sure what it means. In theory, I would guess it means if you're exposed 100 times, 85% of the time you'd be protected, I really don't know.

I've also read that typhoid vaccine is only about 60% effective. Still better than nothing. I keep mine current.
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