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VACINATIONS/MALERIA PILLS..... I NEED HELP?!!!?

  • SteveHickey

    Joined Travelfish
    30th November, 2006
    Posts: 15

    Hi everyone,

    I'm getting my vacinations done this week for my travels to SE Asia. I'll be landing in Bangkok on April 16th and in the following two months I'll be back-packing around Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

    I don't have an exact route planned as of yet, but I do know I'll be in the maleria areas and I'm sure I'll have some exposure to certain illnesses that I wouldn't usually be here at home.

    If you have any advice on what vacinations i should get, and also what course of maleria tablets are the least likely to cause sickness (and maybe not so expensive!!) it would be greatly appreciated!!

    Many thanks,
    Ste

    #1 Posted: 13/2/2007 - 22:16

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  • tails101

    Joined Travelfish
    1st April, 2006
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 105

    Malaria Tablets

    You can't use Malarone (someone may correct me here) as - at least when I looked - it's only designed for shorter periods of use - however if this has changed, it has the least side effect but is expensive! Approx £50ish for a 10 day course plus the before and after bits...

    I spent 3 months in asia and used doxycylcine - purchased very cheaply from a pharmacy in Bangkok. You have to take 2-3 days before and I think 4 weeks after... But it cost me less than £10 for the whole course. I didn't suffer at all - but you must take after food and with water and to be safe stay upright for 10 mins or so after as they can cause ulcers. Other side effects include increased sensitivity to sunlight...

    There are other options - larium, but I don't know much about that other than it can have bad side effects and isn't recommended if you are going to scuba diving or other activities such as this.

    Vaccines - I had Hep A/Hep B/Typhoid/Polio/Japanese Encyphalitis/Tetanus/Diptheria - all of these in the UK were either free or available on one prescription except Japanese... which cost about £80!

    Hope this is of some use!
    Cheers,
    Mark

    #2 Posted: 14/2/2007 - 04:33

  • steviej

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    Yo Ste,

    Malaria infects around 300 to 500 million people p.a. and kills anything up to 3 million people a year!!!

    In the UK alone some 2000 people return from trips abroad infected with Malaria.

    You seriously need to talk to your GP/Doctor. S/He will be able to give you the most up to date info. (if you're persistent)

    There are plenty of people who have been to SEAsia who have never had/taken any form of tabs/jabs and lived to tell the tale.

    I'm sure a very, very, small percentage of people (and I'm talking infinitesimal) wished that they could still advise "..talk to your GP/Doctor..." but are no longer with us.

    Well, that's enough of the scandalous scare-mongering (you know which side of the fence I sit) keep then there legs and arms covered and slap on the Eau d'eet for maximum performance!!!

    By the way, if you do plum for the Malarone you can order them from https://www.boots.com/pharmacy/build_quote_page.jsp for £2.10 per tab with a private prescription.

    TTFN
    steviej

    #3 Posted: 15/2/2007 - 07:13

  • steviej

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    's only me again,

    Have a sken at this recent thread regarding the same topic: http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/cambodia/1290_Malaria-Tablets/0

    #4 Posted: 15/2/2007 - 07:18

  • SteveHickey

    Joined Travelfish
    30th November, 2006
    Posts: 15

    Guys,

    Thanks a million for the info, no doubt i'll be covering up, got my jabs last night - can hardly move my arms, and i'm now knee deep in research for what kind of malaria pills i should take - lot of info to assimilate though!!

    Thanks again guys -

    Ste

    #5 Posted: 15/2/2007 - 19:43

  • somtam2000

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    Welcome to Travelfish Ste.

    There's a lot of different opinions regarding malarials. My personal opinion (and I'm not a doctor of anything!) is that is you're planning on visiting "mainstream" tourist destinations in SE Asia, you don't need them. I've lived here for over a decade, haven't taken malarials in at least that long and know very very very few people who have been afflicted with it -- Dengue Fever is a far more likely risk -- but your Doc won't talk about that as there's no pills to sell for it...

    Of course, if you're planning on spending extended periods in remote border areas (notably the Thai/Burma border and the Thai/Cambodia border) or are planing on spending extended periods of time in rural areas, then they may be worth considering -- but "most" first time visitors to Asia are not planning on doing the above.

    There's always exceptions to the rule, but, as my Grandma says an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (or I think that was what she said anyway) and in the case of malaria, the following points are a good starter:

    a) Use repellent
    b) Use a mosquito net
    c) Dress sensibly (1) -- mosquitos are attracted by dark colours, so wear light coloured clothing when possible
    d) Dress sensibly (2) -- wear long sleeves and long trousers at dawn and dusk -- prime mosquito feasting periods
    e) Don't sleep naked in a swamp

    Also bear in mind malarials don't make you "malaria proof" rather they give you a larger window of time within which to get the treatment you need.

    If you still plan to take malarials, consider buying generic medication upon arrival -- tis a lot cheaper than buying it in the west.

    Lastly, if you want to gimme a rough rundown on where you're planning on visiting it will be useful in giving more advice

    #6 Posted: 15/2/2007 - 21:12

  • somtam2000

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    Oh and one more thing -- in all cases, Larium should be avoided -- particularly if you're a women of slight build (which I think you're probably not, but perhaps you're travelling with one!)

    #7 Posted: 15/2/2007 - 21:13

  • SteveHickey

    Joined Travelfish
    30th November, 2006
    Posts: 15

    thanks somtam 2000,

    Quick rundown is as follows:

    Arrive Bangkok, head south - take in as many of the Anadman Coast islans as possible. then head back north via the Gulf of Thailand islands.

    From there back to Bangkok on to Chaing Mai.

    From Chaing Mai north along the Mekong into Loas, and from there along the river south east to Vietienne.

    Form there we fly in to Hanoi and will go overland (take in a few beaches) south to Saigon (HCM). from there we will cross into Cambodia to Phnom Penh then on to Siam Reip (angkor wat), and back to bangkok. All in two months ;-)

    i presume we'll have some exposure to malaria along the way, especially in the border areas? also i am travelling with a girl of slim figure!!!

    So what does any recommend??!!!

    Many thanks guys,
    Steve

    #8 Posted: 15/2/2007 - 22:07

  • somtam2000

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    Hi Steve,
    I've entered my comments between your text. You're best to get the advice of a travel-doctor (generally not your GP) in regard to this -- I'm not a doctor, so this is just my thoughts on it -- if you've got more questions, ask away.

    "Arrive Bangkok, head south - take in as many of the Andaman Coast islands as possible. then head back north via the Gulf of Thailand islands."

    No need for malarials

    From there back to Bangkok on to Chaing Mai."

    Bangkok and Chiang Mai are not considered to be malarial

    From Chaing Mai north along the Mekong into Laos, and from there along the river south east to Vientianne.

    No need for malarials in the Thai segment, unless you are striking off into very remote areas -- by which I mean national parks, remote border districts. Areas along the mekong like Pakbeng hold a theoretical risk of malaria -- but to be honest you're more likely to be attacked by a drunk backpacker in Pakbeng than a malarial insect... I guess there's a possible risk, but would say very, very low. Luang Prabang, no need, Vientiane, no need. Note on a side note, regular passenger boats no longer run between lp and vientiane (if you were planning on doing that).

    Form there we fly in to Hanoi and will go overland (take in a few beaches) south to Saigon (HCM). from there we will cross into Cambodia to Phnom Penh then on to Siam Reip (angkor wat), and back to bangkok. All in two months ;-)

    No significant malaria risk in Hanoi, Saigon, Phnom Penh or Siem Reap -- nor Bangkok for that matter -- but all of these, particularly Phnom penh and Siem Reap are Dengue fever areas -- you're far better off worrying about that than malaria -- through prevention (see my earlier post)

    i presume we'll have some exposure to malaria along the way, especially in the border areas? also i am travelling with a girl of slim figure!!!

    By "border areas" -- I meant remote districts on the border, not the international crossing points. Of all the places you mention,Pak Beng is the only one that I'd even consider being an issue.

    Regarding the slim-figured-female you're hanging out with, your travel doctor will most likely recommend Larium (goes under a few names, including mefloquine -- do a Google search for "Larium side effects" -- here's a typical site) -- it's a weekly pill rather than the daily pill with Doxyclycine. He/She may recommend it because doxycycline interferes with the Pill, meaning you'd need to use other birth control (I'm assuming the two of your are not related!). The problem is Larium can have severe side effects (psychotic behaviour, seizures and other seriously unpleasant issues) particularly on slight women, and I've been unfortunate enough to see it in action on a few slight women, including my wife. I'd never, ever recommend anyone take it under any circumstances.

    #9 Posted: 15/2/2007 - 22:42

  • steviej

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    I'll second the Larium comment: steer well clear!!!!

    #10 Posted: 15/2/2007 - 23:16

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  • SteveHickey

    Joined Travelfish
    30th November, 2006
    Posts: 15

    thanks again guys for all the help.... I had a look on that website for Larium, scary stuff!!!

    I'll keep all this in mind while i'm travelling!

    Somtam, going back to what you said about getting the boat from Luang Prabang to Vietenne, are there any other ways to travel this?

    i wanted to get the boat as much as possible, cos i heard this was a fantastic way to travel to Vietienne? Any ideas??

    #11 Posted: 15/2/2007 - 23:54

  • somtam2000

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    Steve,

    There's no longer regular passenger ferries running the LP to Vientiane route, though you may be able to negotiate a spot on a freighter doing the same route -- freighters are pretty much the same boats, but lack the creature "conforts" -- few that they are.

    Alternatives are to head as far as Vang Vieng and then you can apparnetly do rafting trips from there to fairly close to Vientiane, though I'm not sure of the details on that.

    #12 Posted: 16/2/2007 - 07:21

  • steviej

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location United Kingdom
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    Hey up,

    Somtam's probably catching up on some 'shut-eye', [think nappies, babies (and good luck to 'em) etc. etc.] so I hope he doesn't mind me jumping the gun.

    Apparently it's not the old well run adventure on the river, we crave for, due to the success of R13.

    Having said that, I do believe you can 'do' the river some part of the way.

    It's now far to easy, and faster, to head down to Vang Vieng on a minibus and chill for 24/36hrs then snag a banger on south to Vientiane for some more informal chilling out.

    You could always splurge a little more and fly south to Vientiane for the summer.

    TTFN

    #13 Posted: 16/2/2007 - 07:38

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