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Hep B vaccine for teenage DS to travel--really necessary?

(19 Posts)
Cleanthatroomnow Mon 21-Apr-14 15:04:31

DS1 and DS2 going to South East Asia for 2 weeks this summer. I have spent a small fortune on vaccinations. Obviously the cost is not my paramount concern--safety is.

The advice from the travel clinic is that Hep B vaccine is "optional" and is up to DS to risk assess. He's 18 and not sexually active (I know--could be wrong about that but he is pretty open with me). I understand how Hep b is transmitted and so does he--have had the discussion about unprotected sex etc. I feel the other risk of non-sterile surgical instruments is minor given the areas they will be in (main tourist route). He has opted out of having the Hep B--should I insist? More expense, but I need to be able to sleep at night!

BTW, DS2 is a dental student and so is vaccinated already, therefore not an issue for him.

Should also add that Hep A, typhoid, rabies, Jap Encephalitis, and malaria tabs all in hand.

Thanks in advance.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 21-Apr-14 15:07:45

Just get it. Very unlikely to cause him any harm and good to have just in case. Be quick though, as far as I remember hep B is more than one jag, and have to all be given in advance.

MadamBatShit Mon 21-Apr-14 15:11:52

I was a healthcare worker so have the hep b protection, like your other son. I am glad I have it. Hep B is so much more infectious than HIV and it gives me a sense of security, however you always have to be careful as there is Hepatitis C as well. But for just a 2 week holiday? I wouldn't bother, just be careful. If he wants to travel the world more or work, then yes, I'd go for the full immunisation. Not very helpful..

Sidge Mon 21-Apr-14 15:33:09

Hep B is highly endemic in SE Asia.

If he's only going for two weeks and is unlikely to be sexually active, engage in activities likely to cause injury and thus require medical attention, have a tattoo or piercing or swap body fluids with anyone then the risk for him is likely to be low.

However having a course of Hep B vaccine now could cover him for future travel also, and it can be given as an accelerated course.

AHardDaysWrite Mon 21-Apr-14 15:34:42

I would have it done. My brother is a doctor and he says that these days, he would rather have HIV than hepatitis as it's more treatable. I'd do everything possible to minimise risks.

Cleanthatroomnow Mon 21-Apr-14 15:50:17

Thanks for the quick responses! Have spoken to the travel clinic--there is still time to give the course and I think we will go for it. They did explain, though, that a blood test 6 months afterwards is the only way of knowing if it's "taken". DS2 (dentist in training) agrees with aharddayswrite saying Hep B is unlikely but pretty awful consequences if he is unlucky.

Cleanthatroomnow Mon 21-Apr-14 15:51:40

I would much rather they were going to Tenerife!!!

Sidge Mon 21-Apr-14 16:23:39

I think having it is not a bad idea, it's a generally well tolerated vaccine with very few side effects. It can be given over 3 weeks in a very rapid accelerated course or at 0,1 and 2 months in a standard accelerated course.

Once he's had it (and established he has good titre levels of immunity) he should have long term protection, but still needs to be aware of exposure risk of course as the vaccine doesn't give 100% protection.

Hope they have a great trip!

Questionsquestionsquestions123 Mon 21-Apr-14 16:25:40

I'd go for the hep b over the Japanese encephalitis vaccine.

What country in SE Asia?.

Why does he actually need the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine?. Standard vaccines for SE Asia seem to be Hep A and B, typhoid and tetanus.

Cleanthatroomnow Mon 21-Apr-14 18:27:09

Vietnam

goingmadinthecountry Tue 22-Apr-14 23:05:45

Well worth it. Dd is now on travel no 2 and has only needed typhoid again. She's been to Malawi, Tanzania and now Panama. Nothing gets cheapersad

Just 3 more kids to go. At least all have had most shots.

Cleanthatroomnow Tue 22-Apr-14 23:23:42

Thanks for all the advice. Decided to go for the whole lot. Poor boy is a pin cushion now! He's young and has lots of travel ahead of him.

Bugsylugs Tue 22-Apr-14 23:34:28

Glad he is going to have it done. So few do.

As for location so much more fun than tenerife and possibly more likely to be more careful as well. They will have a blast. I look back in wonder at my parents I was in off travelling India, Africa at 17 in the 8 ' hope I will be as brave with mine. It was fantastic.

Bugsylugs Tue 22-Apr-14 23:35:57

80's. Please excuse the typo's.

specialsubject Wed 23-Apr-14 13:14:26

also remind him that he needs to apply 30% DEET 24/7 as a precaution against dengue.

I am also surprised he needed anything beyond the jabs he should have had anyway as kid/teen, plus malaria tabs for some places. Bluntly, he should not have a tattoo nor have sex with locals or tourists. You get Hep B (and C) from body fluid contact so it IS avoidable. I have the jab as I am a first-aider and so run a small risk.

BTW I think Tenerife is a lot of fun; volcano, amazing walking, lovely sunsets, gorges...

Cleanthatroomnow Wed 23-Apr-14 13:34:18

I know it's unlikely, but there's also a risk of infection due to unsanitary surgical equipment. I'm a worrier. My Dad got hepatitis from a laboratory source while working as a medical rep...long time ago.

Sidge Wed 23-Apr-14 13:41:16

I think travel vaccs and some simple bite avoidance measures are a sensible thing to do - people seem to forget that you can contract Hepatitis A in Turkey and Egypt, malaria in the Caribbean (Dominican Republic), Dengue Fever in Goa, typhoid in Thailand...

Hep A and typhoid vaccines are available free on the NHS, bite avoidance measures can be cheap and effective.

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