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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

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dramamama

Travel Immunizations For Kenya

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I am taking a humanitarian trip to Kenya in October. I will be working at an orphanage with children for 10 days. I'm very confused as to what to do about my travel immunizations. I'm worried after reading some comments of reactions FROM the shots for a Celiac. Any advise would be awesome. Also -- any known 'names' of Malaria meds that are known to be gluten free? (since it has to be swallowed). THANKS FOR YOUR HELP -- oh how nice it would be to just 'go have the shots' and not worry. 55 years old -- diagnosed with Celiac 2 1/2 years ago.

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I wasn't aware there was a shot for malaria. Are you sure this shot is for malaria and not one of the vaccines you have to take for other various viruses? The CDC mentions 3 different oral medications for malaria (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/kenya.htm) but they are all available in generic, which means there's an assortment of generic manufacturers that you're pharmacy may or may not carry. Out of all of them I specifically found that Doxycycline (Mylan, Watson, West-Ward brand) is gluten-free (http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/list.htm). But being in Kenya the photosensitivity side effect would probably leave you pretty burnt unless you were covered up well.

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I would perhaps suggest that you space them out, do not get them all at once. My sister felt that is what she should have done when she had some problems with travel vaccinations.

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I think in general the medications for travelling to 3rd world areas just make you feel like crap. I ended up stopping my malaria medications when I went to Haiti because I thought Malaria sounded nicer than the SE's from the antibiotics. Looking backs, that's a great way to create resistant strains of malaria and I probably shouldn't have done it. Most of the bad reactions to vaccinations you see probably aren't going to be from gluten. You're body is going to see the injected virus ("live" or not) and mount some kind of attack on it, and it's going to be your body's natural response to the invader that makes you feel bad.

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Many large hospitals have travel vaccination clinics that specialize in providing vaccinations for people traveling outside the country. They can tell you what you must have and what is recommended but not required - and I would think they could tell you if a medication is gluten free or not (or at least research it for you). The one I used was awesome and very thorough.

I've had quite a few random immunizations for travel and haven't had any issues. I, like others, am a little paranoid about getting everything at once but if you plan ahead you can space them out. Some take 6 months to get through all of the boosters though.

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Thank you for your input -- the idea of spacing them out is good. I finally got a return call from my nutritionist telling me to GET the shots -- which I was beginning to wonder if I should -- so that solved that. The malaria meds are oral -- so thanks for the info on that. Ugh....I guess 'let the fun begin'... Thanks again for your help!

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The malaria meds are oral -- so thanks for the info on that. Ugh....I guess 'let the fun begin'... Thanks again for your help!

Just realize that you might have more side effects from some of the malaria meds than others. A friend of mine was living in Cameroon and she had to go through several meds until she found one that didn't make her feel cruddy. Of course it was the most expensive one!

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I react to vaccines with formaldehyde and thimerosol (mercury). Try to see if there are alternatives to the ones recommended if they have these ingredients. For instance for the flu vaccine there is usually a thimerosol free one available but I either have to get it from a specialty travel clinic or a Dr. who gets them in for their patients specifically. Most of the commonly available ones contain thimerosol. Thimerosol is also a common preservative in eye drops which is where I first found out about my reaction to it.

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/ucm187810.htm

http://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/safetyavailability/vaccinesafety/ucm096228.htm

I think I was able to get all the vaccines except the second hepatitus A one since I had a reaction to the first. Spacing them out is a good idea so your not hitting your body with trying to develop the immune reaction to so many things at once as well as dealing with the preservatives in the vaccine.

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I think in general the medications for travelling to 3rd world areas just make you feel like crap. I ended up stopping my malaria medications when I went to Haiti because I thought Malaria sounded nicer than the SE's from the antibiotics. Looking backs, that's a great way to create resistant strains of malaria and I probably shouldn't have done it. Most of the bad reactions to vaccinations you see probably aren't going to be from gluten. You're body is going to see the injected virus ("live" or not) and mount some kind of attack on it, and it's going to be your body's natural response to the invader that makes you feel bad.

It's nice to see someone who knows their stuff! There are no gluten concerns with injectables for 2 reasons....if there were any gluten in immunizations, they by-pass the gut so would not cause a Celiac reaction. Second, the odds of their being any gluten in immunizations is next to none. Injectables are not meant to be thick...that would make it harder to give the shot. There is no need to make it thicker and consistency is the main reason for adding gluten to anything. Not a concern. The reasons people have reactions to immunizations are for the reason you stated so well.

As for malaria meds, I would find one that was safe or I wouldn't travel to that destination. Malaria is no joke and if you skip the meds, you are asking for major trouble. Celiac will feel like a walk in the park compared to malaria.

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