Vaccination Alternatives

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#1 Aug 12th, 2009, 18:33
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  • merrymoon is offline
#1
Hi All,

I'm going to be travelling around India from end of september for upto six months. I don't believe in vaccinations (I won't bore anyone with the reasons why) so am interested in anyone's thoughts/experiencs with alternatives. Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, etc...

I've previously visited Goa a few years ago and saw a Homeopath (in England where I live) before travelling and he put a kit together for me. I did'nt experience any illness while their so can't expand on the Homeopathic remedies efficacy. I did take the Homeopathic malaria remedy daily though.

Anyway, any thoughts greatfully appreciated.
#2 Aug 12th, 2009, 19:00
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  • Nick-H is offline
#2
Do you believe in fire? Is your house insured?

All the stuff you might get vaccinated for, you are not, actually that likely to catch, just as your house is, with a lot of care and a little luck, very unlikely to burn down.

So, you play a game of risk. Whether any of the homeopathic immunisation remedies work I can't say; I can say that I've taken them (although I also had the vaccinations some years back), including the malaria one, but subsequently discovered that the Homeopathic hospital in London warns very strongly against using homeopathy for malarial prophylaxis. I don't know if they have any stated point of view on the other diseases; it would be interesting to find out.

Of course, people can post that they did this or that and didn't catch anything, but remember that it proves nothing other than that they didn't catch anything; the assumption that they might have, had they not taken their pet cure, is without any basis at all.

Most of the usual immunisation list (which I can never remember off the top of my head anyway) is against stuff that you just might possibly catch almost anywhere in the world anyway. One exception that I can think of is polio. You were probably immunised against that as a youngster, and if you are old enough to have seen it in UK, it won't have been in the past forty years, but it does still exist in India.

Western alopathic medicine is waking up to the lessons that it can learn from other cultures, partly, perhaps, because the pharmaceuticals are ever seeking the next money maker, but that does not mean that they have all the answers, or can cure anything, or even that they do not use equally harmful poisons in their potions.
#3 Aug 12th, 2009, 20:18
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#3
It has to be an informed judgement balancing the risks. Take health insurance at a minimum..
#4 Aug 12th, 2009, 20:18
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Hi, I am an irish based homeopath and we don’t get vaccinations for our family trips to India either. Having said that I totally agree with Nick-H that its up to individual risk assessment. My husband is an osteopath and so between us we have a good medical knowledge and know some world class Indian doctors should we get ill. Not everyone travels so confidently. The jury is out on the efficacy of homeopathic prophylaxis even within the homeopathic community…hence the London Homeopathic Hospital standpoint. Issac Golden is the Aussie homeopath who has conducted the most research on homeopathic alternatives to vaccination. If you do opt out of vaccinations …and it sounds as if you will…I would make sure you are in the best constitutional health before you go, really max out on the preventative measures, be aware of disease symptoms and know what you will do/where to go if the worst happens. I usually worry more about traffic accidents than malaria!
#5 Aug 12th, 2009, 21:24
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  • machadinha is offline
#5
I'd say that the alternative is to not get vaccinated. It's not all that difficult, is it.

You can have a foot massage in the meantime if it makes you feel better. It usually does me. I just wouldn't count on it effectively preventing anything.
#6 Aug 12th, 2009, 21:34
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#6
I could use one just now & that sums it up for me..
#7 Aug 22nd, 2009, 01:36
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actually I've been wondering all this myself...in regards to whether immunizations are absolutely necessary

I was vaccinated against polio as a child in the US and plan to take a broad spectrum anti-biotic (advised by another traveler) & anti-malarial

the other major warnings seem to be hepatitis...what are the risks there?
#8 Aug 22nd, 2009, 01:39
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Er, the risk of getting it, in one of its several and quite distinct strains?*

(I'm sorry, but I really don't understand what people are looking to hear in this field sometimes. Or often, really. Yes, of course, some people go through life unvaccinated. The result is that they're, well, unvaccinated. The fact that many live to tell the tale doesn't tell you much, or not a thing in fact. I am meanwhile and always happy to not be the polio-affected & hence severely paralyzed and/or deformed for life child of some Jehovah's Witness or misguided hippie or whatever.)

* Note that vaccination against Hepatitis B, a disease transmitted in similar ways as HIV, and just for instance, seems to be getting more in vogue in (parts of) the West as well btw. You can probably count on it becoming universal in the West over the coming years or decades.

As Nick had already noted, it is the same as with many of the standard shots prescribed for tropical travel: Many of those you'll have been administered (unless someone interfered) as a standard anyway as a child. Many of those are just given a booster in view of your tropical travel plans; others will be new to you, of course.

I guess everyone should decide for themselves whether to have them or not (I'd speak much less favorably of it though as soon as it involves decisions for others who can't speak for themselves, as in one's young children); but I really don't see the deal with something as simple as getting a typhoid shot or something. Nor with fantasizing how some Bach therapy may help you out instead.

And no, I'm no great supporter of the pharmaceutical industry either (nor am I of its modern new-age pendant either, for that matter; as if there were no financial interests and money going around there, ha! In fact I'm sure these days you'll find no few of them will fall under the same conglomerates anyway); and then again I have lived with hippies indeed who were debating whether or not to give their infant a polio shot. I mean yuck
Last edited by machadinha; Aug 23rd, 2009 at 20:31..
#9 Aug 22nd, 2009, 01:41
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#9
the question is, what are the risks of getting it, and what is it acquired through?

the reasons for not getting vaccinated? plain and simple, for me...finances
some of us are on an extremely tight budget
#10 Aug 22nd, 2009, 01:55
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Well, economizing on your health is just about the unwisest thing to do, is my usual advice.

Try to find or detract from some funds elsewhere.

I'll agree though some of the (expensive) vaccinations advised I hear from in some countries have one wonder. It is, and should be, a different discussion though. To which I see no immediate answer, I should add; if there were one, it'd be in big fat neon letters on this site alone.
#11 Aug 22nd, 2009, 10:20
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by CFPhotoGrafie View Post actually I've been wondering all this myself...in regards to whether immunizations are absolutely necessary

I was vaccinated against polio as a child in the US and plan to take a broad spectrum anti-biotic (advised by another traveler) & anti-malarial

the other major warnings seem to be hepatitis...what are the risks there?
All it takes is to have one cook have hepatitis A or typhoid and presto! you've got it too!

All it takes is one dirty needle (blood transfusion? stitches? pain killer? who knows?) or maybe even one sexual encounter -- and you could have Hepatitis B.

Permanent liver damage. You could be really sick. It'll ruin your holiday in India. Maybe your life.

It's always up to you.
The map is not the territory. --Alfred Korzybski
#12 Aug 22nd, 2009, 18:45
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  • federica is offline
#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CFPhotoGrafie View Post I was vaccinated against polio as a child in the US
You know that you have to refresh this vaccination every 10 years? Getting Polio as an adult is no fun even if you survive.
#13 Aug 22nd, 2009, 19:06
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#13
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Originally Posted by wonderwomanusa View Post Permanent liver damage. You could be really sick. It'll ruin your holiday in India. Maybe your life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by federica View Post You know that you have to refresh this vaccination every 10 years? Getting Polio as an adult is no fun even if you survive.
Well said, both of you!

I suspect that most younger people who have been brought up in developed countries, except for those who have an interest in social history, are generally ignorant of the massive impact of that diseases like polio can have.

When I was a child I knew quite a few older people who had to wear leg braces or worse due to having contracted polio earlier in life.The only reason that has changed is because of the vaccination programme. I can understand and sympathise with anyone who is truly poverty stricken and who genuinely cannot afford vaccinations, but someone who can afford to fly thousands of miles to visit India claiming to be unable to afford such basics as a polio vaccination defies belief!
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#14 Aug 22nd, 2009, 19:20
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#14
As a child of the fifties, I can only say "me too" to that. I remember leg braces among my school friends --- and one death.

I think that at least some of these are available under the NHS in UK. I didn't pay for any of those I had, but it was a few years ago. Who can tell the current policy?
#15 Aug 22nd, 2009, 19:35
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#15
It is perhaps easy for me to say as a Dutchman yes, as most of that stuff (so travel vaccinations) is covered under our mandatory (extended) national health package anyway. So financially at least, I don't really need to think twice about it.

Still though, I agree: If you can just afford the flight, and perhaps a planned rock-bottom stay there (always tricky in itself, what are you gonna do if your estimates turn out to be hopelessly optimistic? Or if you run into unforeseen expenses, etc. -- medical emergencies being uninsured not the least of those!), but nothing else, such as at least health insurance, and are driven to avoid any shots purely for financial reasons -- then maybe the rational conclusion should be that in fact you cannot afford the trip. There's always just a little more to it than just getting there and eating dry chapatis all the way. Maybe better to save up for a next year, knowing you'll have at least the basics covered.
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