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Hepatitis freak-out, son going to China

(13 Posts)
shockthemonkey Tue 28-Feb-17 09:16:41

This is partly medical of course, but also might be answered by anyone who has recently had trouble sourcing hepatitis A and B vaccines.

Apparently there's a global shortage. I cannot get it anywhere in France (we're in Paris). My son, 18 yrs old, is about to fly off to China and it had not occurred to me that we may be unable to vaccinate him properly.

Any ideas about how worried I should be, what alternatives we may have for finding any vaccines (eg hopping over to London and going privately), and failing that, what kind of precautions he should take whilst out there?


Moreisnnogedag Tue 28-Feb-17 09:31:44

I believe the hep B vaccine takes three doses for protection over a six month period. The combined takes the same time.

Hep B is a blood borne virus so the usual safe sex/precautions advised.

Rulerruler Tue 28-Feb-17 09:32:41

Very simply Hep A can be contracted through contaminated water or food so he'll need to be careful over water sources and be wary of general hygiene levels in food preparation areas. Hep B transmitted through infected bodily fluids. When my DH first started working in Asia he was asked if he planned on close contact with the locals hmm When he said no they said he didn't need the vaccine. Since then we have actually moved to Asia so the whole family has been vaccinated for both as a precaution.

I expect a lot of his risk level will depend on what he will be doing and how long he will be staying. If it's longish I expect he can arrange any missing vaccinations once he is settled in China. Our Hep B courses were completed while we were in Asia but I know several British people who live here having had no extra vaccinations at all and have had no problems to date.

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Tue 28-Feb-17 09:33:38

Yes 3 doses, I have to have this for work. I'd he's going soon he won't have time to get all does in, so just advise him to be cautious around blood etc and to use protection at all costs.

Moreisnnogedag Tue 28-Feb-17 09:35:58

They seem to still have vaccines (it's not on their list of call to reserve) but would obviously be wise to check.

shockthemonkey Tue 28-Feb-17 09:36:23

Thank you so much! He'll only be out there for five months.

He'll need to drink bottled water only, right? He'll be au-pairing with a well-to-do family, I should imagine he can eat safely with them and if he keeps to bottled water and avoids street food he should be OK?

Am still keen to get him vaccinated if at all possible. Would a private clinic in London be the kind of place?

shockthemonkey Tue 28-Feb-17 09:37:21

Sorry, cross-posted with More, I'll call them!

specialsubject Tue 28-Feb-17 09:39:30

Hep b is for workers who might come into contact with body fluids, e.g first aiders. No tattoos, no drug use and no unprotected shagging and he should be fine.

Typhoid ? Diphtheria ?polio?

I haven't been to China but in other places street food cooked in front of you is a lot safer than hotel or restaurant.

Rulerruler Tue 28-Feb-17 09:41:22

That would be my plan - bottle water only (check it's sealed) and to avoid street food. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity!

Rulerruler Tue 28-Feb-17 09:42:37

Street foods not good where I am - they sometimes wash the pans in flood water and get their oil from drains!

IJustLostTheGame Tue 28-Feb-17 09:52:23

Bottled water or water that has been boiled for 10 minutes or more.
He should steer clear of ice cubes in drinks and salads too, in case they have been washed in contaminated water. I'd say that goes for any raw food that doesn't have a skin to peel. Fruit juice is fine as long as it hadn't been watered down.
I lived in India for a year and they are the rules I followed. Not just for hepatitis but for anything that can lurk in water.

pooriver Tue 28-Feb-17 09:54:51

I work in public health and commissioning and Hep A is one of the vaccines there's a massive shortage of. Fortunately, being scrupulous with hygiene measures is enough to protect you. There's loads of advice online about it but he should remember that fruit/salad may have been washed in contaminated water, even fruit that he picks may be contaminated by fertilisers, coconuts may be filled with water rather than coconut juice (is t coconut water?). He needs to be suspicious of everything. Soap and water and thorough hand washing with safe water are important, alcohol gels may be a secondary way of protection but hand washing is more important. We use WHO guidance and it's comprehensive and up to date.

Is he up to date with normal routine vaccinations?

specialsubject Tue 28-Feb-17 09:56:27

Ah - please note rulerulers words!

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