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Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

GA, USA
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Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

First I would like to say hey to everyone, as this is my first post...

My question is about the health risk for Americans in CR? My mother is worried about my family and I going to CR so she called my sons pediatrician to ask about the health risk and the doctor said her that we all need to go to the health department to get shots for a number of things such a typhoid and malaria.

The health department told her that we should have gotten sots and taken pills a month ago and for us to come in ASAP to get started!

My wife is from CR so the lady at the health department said that she would not need to take any precautions because she already has built a resistance.

Is it really that serious of a risk? I am worried about my son and also about the doctor saying that we should have done this a month ago.

Thanks in advance for any help on this topic.

GA, USA
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1. Re: Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

I forgot, this is what the health dept. wants to give us: Malaria pills, Typoid shot, Hep A and something else that they said they were out of???

We are planning to go to the flamingo resort for three or four days and to visit my wife's family in Acosta (where ever that is?) we may also go to irazu or poas volcano - we will be gone for 13 days...

I hate to take a chance of getting side effects from meds and ruining a vac. if I don't have to.

Any help on this would be great.

Thanks.

CA
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2. Re: Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

I have been to Costa Rica about a half a dozen times and have never taken shots/meds. After 9-11, I wanted to donate blood but couldn't because I had recently traveled to an area in Costa Rica that was known to have high frequency for Malaria. I was fine, but again, the medical community has to be 100%... I'm not implying that there isn't a risk--which is why the doctors always tend to be so adamant about this. It just doesn't tend to be a major concern to a lot of travelers. Especially in comparison to many other latin american countries. The malaria pills usually have nasty side affects and I prefer to use insect repellent, drink filtered water and not eat from street vendors. You can also consider avoiding raw fruits and veggies (or rinsing your produce with purified water)...

Puerto Viejo, Costa...
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for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
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3. Re: Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

I have lived here for 3 years and know many foreigners that live here and have yet to meet someone who lives here that has ever taken malaria pills.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

I've lived here for many years and never took a pill or got a shot - not even when I first came for vacation - same goes for my partner. Many friends have visited us over the course of the years - none have gotten shots or taken pills. My 65 year old mother in law has visited - no pill or shots, my 70 year old parents have visited several times - no pill no shots. We've had friends with small children visit - again no preventative medication.

None of us have ever gotten sick from any tropical disease.

New York, New York
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5. Re: Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

I have an autoimmune disorder and my doctor (as usual with anything I do) wanted to put me on malaria meds, blah blah blah, a bunch of other stuff. I said no because of the side-effects and we compromised on a hep A shot and updating my tetanus, which are good to have anyway. He was fine with it and told me he has never taken malaria pills anywhere he has gone either. He looked at the CDC site for Costa Rica and didn't seem concerned at all.

I have a few other doctor friends who do work all over Central America, and they have never taken malaria meds.

Ask your son's pediatrician about tetanus and Hep A shots, make sure his regular vaccinations are up to date, and realize that there is some minimal risk of malaria. How old is your son? I would be cautious of over-vaccinating / over-medicating a small child.

Costa Rica is a really lovely place and your wife and her family will know what to do in case of emergency, which is more than I can say for most of us tourists. Have a great time and don't worry! You haven't done anything wrong.

quepos, costa rica
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6. Re: Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

In 4 yrs of living here have got Dengue and nothing else and only Deet would have prevented that.

GA, USA
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7. Re: Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

Thanks for the advice everyone!

Newsconsin, my son is 3 1/2 years old - I hate to put him on meds if I don't really need to...

Anyone know about typhoid?

I am thinking I may just get the Hep shots for my son and maybe for myself.

I really don't want to have side effects from meds when I am trying to enjoy my vacation.

So. Cal.
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8. Re: Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

Have a great time!

My wife, our friend & I went to Costa Rica 2 years ago in June and plan on going again this June. We only took Deet and only really needed it when I went into the jungle in Tortuguero where mosquitos were fairly agressive. Went to Arenal & Monte Verde. Wore Deet but really didn't need it in those places.

We were a bit adventurous eating at some side cafes. Never got sick.

Because their economy is so dependent on tourism, they are very good about taking care of us tourists.

Good luck and enjoy! Pura Vida.

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

You will want to check with a Travel Medicine clinic, not a pediatrician, for requirements. Also, the CDC website has current information and requirements. Currently, there are no requirements, only recommendations. Children who are up to date on their regular vaccinations should be ok with Hep, just cross-check their immunizations with the Travel Medicine clinic. Personally, I think it's a good precaution for everyone to be up on their Hep anyway.

New York, New York
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10. Re: Health Question - going to CR in two weeks!

Ditto Travelicious. You can get Hep A in the US too, so it's a good vaccination to have. You can get the shot now and be immunized for your CR trip and get another one w/in 6 months and be immunized for life.

And a travel doctor is a good idea. They may know more about vaccinations with a child's developing immune system in mind. That might calm your mom down too.

Additionally, I thought 30% deet was totally sufficient to keep the mosquitoes away. Skin So Soft came in handy for the times when I didn't feel like applying more chemicals.

Have fun!