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Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

Sherman Oaks...
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Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

Hi guys,

I am taking off soon on a 2 week trip to Guatemala. Destinations include Tikal for 2 days, Lago de Atitlan, Antigua, and Guatemala city. Its getting close to the trip date and I was wondering if I needed to get hepatitis A shots and malaria pills. I know that I need to avoid the water and use insect repellent, but is it enough? Some people are telling me not to worry, others are saying I should get the shots. Anyone who has been to Guatemala recently that can comment?

p.s. Also not going to be eating anywhere questionable, really playing the trip by the book.

Stevenage, United...
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911 posts
7 reviews
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1. Re: Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

Hi madtomo

At the top of this website's page, on Guatemala forums, is a link to take you to a malaria and general travel health website. I reckon it's better to be safe than sorry, and to get all the jabs and pills that are recommended by the experts. We went up to Tikal without malaria pills and had no problems, but you may not be so lucky....

Hope this helps.

Sherman Oaks...
4 posts
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2. Re: Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

Thanks for the info. Is malaria treatable and curable? If I'm using a insect repellant with a 98% DEET content will I have to go through this really expensive procedure? I know I should be better off safe than sorry, but I've talked to a lot of travelers and they say that as long as I have the repellant and avoid the water and dangerous food I should be okay. The more comments there are the easier my decision will be

Stevenage, United...
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911 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

Hi again

We spent most of our three weeks in Antigua and by lake Atitlan which are virtually free from mozzies. We took Hepatitis A and Typhoid shots as a precaution and were careful with the water and food. As I said earlier, we went up to Tikal for two days with just insect repellent, and we were okay, but I wouldn't want to take any responsibility for anyone else. For more advice, check out;

mdtravelhealth.com/destinations/mamerica_car…

If you get to San Pedro La Laguna, pop into the Alegre Pub on the crossroads up from the Lanchas, and say hi to Simon and Johanna and Anna, and anyone else in there, from Matt and Dawn, and Delia and Ian (Matt's parents). I fully recommend the food in there (I'm not biased...honest!) - they are very very careful with hygiene and only use bottled water for cooking etc. It's also very good food - the Sunday Roasts are a legend!

Have a wonderful vacation and enjoy!

Sherman Oaks...
4 posts
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4. Re: Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

When did you go? We're heading out this Sunday December 18-31. Going to Tikal for 2 days and then spending the rest of the time in Antingua and Lake Atitlan. Not getting shots at this point, just using some damn good insect repellent. The fact that I can't go through anything cheaper but private hospitals and clinics (and the advice of someone who has family that lives in Guatemala now) made me decide that I'll be okay. Thanks for the advice, and if you have any more keep it coming.

Stevenage, United...
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911 posts
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5. Re: Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

Hi again

We were there in February of this year and two years ago - January 2003.

I'm sure you'll be perfectly fine with the cautions you're taking.

We did the 'zip-line' trip while in Tikal - that was pretty good as long as you've a head for heights. And we went around the temples with a guide - recommended if you want to find out about the history etc. We did the walking tour in Antigua with Elizabeth Bell, a Californian who has lived in Antigua since she was 14, and gives a good backround to the city and the country. Also while in Antigua, we did the coffee plantation tour and the two villages tour - both very informative. Other than the 5 days spent in Antigua, we just crashed out in San Pedro where our son was living (he's back in the UK now with his (English) partner and their baby son).

I'm sure you'll enjoy this beautiful country and it's people and you'll have a wonderful time.

Guatemala City...
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682 posts
10 reviews
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6. Re: Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

I have been in Guatemala many times and i have never taken a malaria or hepatitis shot. You shoudl be fine with out it.

So long as you dont drink the water youll be fine. Your going to enjoy that area..your hitting some good spots...

recommend climbing volcano pacaya when in antigua or guatemala city... well worth it...

Visalia,Ca
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7. Re: Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

It only takes one little bite from one infected mosquito to contract Malaria, a preventable disease that kills thousands of people throughout the developing world each year.

Malaria is a serious disease that causes high fever and chills. Most malaria infections cause flu-like symptoms (such as high fever, chills, muscle pain, and diarrhea). Symptoms tend to come and go in cycles as the disease progresses. Once contracted, Malaria requires treatment with antimalarial medications. Most of the time antimalarial medications effectively treat the infection; however, in some instances some malaria parasites may survive because they are in the liver or are resistant to the medication. Those who have been infected, but survive, often suffer serious complications, including heart, lung, kidney, or brain damage.

You can prevent malaria by taking medicine before, during, and after travel to an area where malaria is present and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites.

Syracuse, New York
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8. Re: Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

I've been twice to Guatemala (after having been to various Latin American countries). I'd never gotten shots, taken pills, etc. at my own risk. Besides the inevitable diarrhea, I've been lucky to not get sick. (Though I choose to not go to jungles, etc.) I'm only now getting Hep. A shots since I'm about to head to remote places in El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc.

Just keep the not eating at anywhere questionable, though as I tell my students when we travel to Mexico, don't be afraid to eat or you can make yourself sick.

Oh, and I'm also finally getting the Hep A shot since I know how non-sanitary some of my high school students are when they make food at the fast food places in this town. Ay!

You'll enjoy Guat! Been there twice and headin' back in April to finally see Tikal.

Chicago, Illinois
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247 posts
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9. Re: Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

My mother was born in Guatemala and still has family there so I've been there many, many times and have NEVER taken any pills or gotten any shots. I've been all over - from the jungles of Tikal (3 times I may add) to Antigua to Panajachel to Rio Dulce to Esquipulas to Guatemal City - and have NEVER gotton sick. I'm always mindful of drinking only bottled water and not eating food from any street vendors. This has worked for me. I will be traveling in a few months to Peru and Chile and will be in the Amazon for about 5 days and the only shot I'm getting is a Hep A shot recommended by my doctor. You'll be okay - as long as you're cautious you'll be fine. Hope you had fun!

Corvallis Oregon
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10. Re: Do I need malaria pills and hepatitis a shots???

I am going to Antigua for the 2nd time, went

last year, and have both HEP A shots, but

not planning to get typhoid vaccine....has

anyone heard that the flooding, etc. in the fall has made typhoid more of a concern....

I plan to eat and drink vary safely and only

spend 2 days at Atitlan.

Also, has anyone travelled recently by

commercial van from Antigua to Pana and

does it seem okay......