Immunizations for Travel
Archived Q&A and Reviews
We are traveling to Costa Rica with our 2 girls in May. Kaiser recommends that the 4 year old have a typhoid vaccine and that both kids take 7 weeks of an antimalarial (methloquine, I think). Right now I am thinking they will take the antimalarials but am iffy on the typhoid. Has anybody taken kids to Costa Rica recently? Any advice? Also, I am looking for an effective, but not-too-toxic insect repellant. Thanks, Jill
Check out the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website to see what they reccommend. http://www.cdc.gov/travel/camerica.htm
I travelled all over Africa and did not take malarial medication. I have heard HORROR stories, the kind of thing to ruin your trip. So, think twice. I was very careful to apply strong insect repellant constantly, and to keep my tent zipped up. A woman that I travelled with that took the malaria pills got malaria.. probably when she was drunk one night and didn't take precautions. So, in short, the pills are not 100% effective and you still have to use repellant! don't do it...
We are going to be traveling to Dharamsala, India, in late May with our two year old daughter and staying put there for up to six months. Does anyone know if Malaria is a risk in Dharamsala? For the most part it seems like it's not, but if anyone has any personal experience with this I'd appreciate hearing about it. Currently we are giving her all the regular childhood vaccinations as well as Typhoid and Hep A for our travels. Does anyone know if the meningococcal meningitis shot is safe for a child just turned two? Is there any protection from tuberculosis available? Lastly, if anyone has traveled to this area with a small child i'd love to hear about your experience. Zoe
For the family traveling to India, you can go to the Centers for Disease Control website @:
I haven't been to Dharamsala specifically but our son (now 3yrs old) was born in India and we travelled back and forth (US, Delhi, Bombay, southern India) for the first 18 months. I had a very good pediatrician in India and he strongly suggested that we give malaria medication to our son after he was about six months old. Most malaria medication has side effects and our doctor gave medication for short periods of time (2-3 moths after which we took a break for a while before restarting--he also made us get the pediatric dose from the US, which can be a pain because once mixed the medication must be refrigerated). We also followed preventative measures: closing our doors/windows during dusk, clearing all drains and standing water around the house, mosquito netting, burning a particular herb (not with teh baby in the room), long cotton clothing, insect creams etc..
Some Indian pediatricians still suggest BCG vaccine (for lung TB) but I was told that it didn't prevent all strains that are prevalent. You didn't have Hep B on your list ... and I'm pretty sure our son had that. In any case, while the vaccinations are important I think there are a bunch of other issues relating to general hygiene/food preparation and other related stuff that are equally, if not more important to make sure your baby and you remain healthy and fine. Neema
I did not see the initial request for advice, so I don't know specifically what you were asking. We travel to Calcutta every year and get the following innoculations: thyphoid (available in a five-year pill); malaria (pills that you have to take weekly beginning four weeks before the trip and ending three weeks after the trip); hepatitus A (now one shot with a booster); and tetenus (always a smart thing to be innoculated against). Other shots are recommended for other parts of India (eg., I think they recommned cholera for northern India.)
Travel medicine seems to be an unstable line of business. Every year I've had to go to a new physician because the one I went to the previous year had stopped doing travel medicine. It's very frustrating and not always easy to feel really clear about what you need, particularly for a child under the age of two. Linda