Monday, 17 August 2015
Vaccinations for South America
I'm in the process of sorting out all the necessary vaccinations before leaving UK, luckily NHS has got plenty of free jabs for South America. Hepatitis A and B as standard, but mine could still be valid since my trip to Sri Lanka, Rabies jab I sorted in 2010, and got a booster, which covers me for 10 years - really worth doing for few quid extra. The ones they also offer at no extra cost are for Typhoid, Tetanus and Polio. You would simply need to sort out the Yellow Fever jabs yourself, but there's always some specialist clinic in every area that can offer that for a small amount. Basically none of these is mandatory before entering any country in South America, but from time they might require a certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever when arriving in Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador and few others.
Hepatitis A and B is rather important, as it protects you from most common stomach bugs when eating foreign food. It worked so far, we even ate street food in Sri Lanka, and I drank a water from the stream (no purification), although it was in the mountains, so that's this water had no chance of any contamination yet.
Rabies is recommended for your own peace of mind, if you get bitten by a stray dog, bat or a monkey, as they might carry the infection. Rabies can cause inflammation of the spinal cord and the brain. It is not transmitted by bodily fluids. Read more about Rabies here.
If you will be travelling to the rain forest jungle and stay in remote areas, it is also recommended that you get the Malaria protection too. You cannot get the vaccinations, but you can protect yourself by avoiding the mosquito bites. Mosquito net and the Citronella spray has been a godsend on our trip to Sri Lanka - the mosquitos absolutely resented the citronella spray, so yay for that!
Also it is recommended that you start taking malaria pills on a regular basis three weeks prior to your trip. In UK chloroquine and proguanil can be purchased from a local pharmacy. Read more about malaria prevention here.