Traveling with Lyme?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2016
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   Posted 3/26/2018 11:09 AM (GMT -6)   
I have an opportunity to do some travel for a medical mission trip I'm really interested in. It'll be going to Peru for a week and also learning about local botanical medicines. I gotta say though, I'm pretty terrified of getting Dengue or Malaria. Apparently they had 6000 cases from Jan to May in 2017. Does anyone with Lyme regularly do travel to places with illnesses like these? Do you feel more at risk? Are there precautions you take that seem to have helped? Have you actually gotten sick? If so, did your body handle it normally? Just wondering about general experiences with this sort of thing and how people approach it. Since having Lyme i've never gotten a cold or flu or any acute illness. But I do tend to get a lot of opportunistic things like fungal skin infections and so on. Not sure how I feel about rolling the dice on mosquito diseases...

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Date Joined Aug 2017
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   Posted 3/26/2018 12:12 PM (GMT -6)   
I went to a school that took frequent foreign mission trips. The group that went to Africa was advised to get malaria vaccines before leaving. One member of the group did not get the vaccine and contracted malaria while in Africa. As far as I know, she was a healthy non-Lyme person. She ended up in a hospital there where sanitary conditions and proper medical care is far from what it is in the US. She was extremely ill and thought she was going to die. She told her story when the group returned.

My dad, who is 93, said he got malaria when he was 12 years old. He said he almost died.

Malaria is not like a cold or a flu or any other common infection Americans typically encounter. From what I understand, it is much more severe and can take you out.

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Date Joined May 2014
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   Posted 3/26/2018 12:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Psilo - Are there any recommended vaccinations for travelling there?

If so, any concerns about that?
Moderator, Lyme Forum
Symp started April/2013; Buhner's Lyme May 15-July24/14; Igenex pos. July 3/14
Doxy: July 4-Aug.24/14;Zithro July26-Aug24/14; Amox + Proben. Aug. 29/14;
added biaxin Sept. 26/14
Disc. amox,added Ceftin Nov. 20th.;
Disc. biaxin added Buhner bart herbs Dec/14;Jan/15 pulsing Tinda (w/ Ceftin);
Abx/herb break Apr-July/15; July-mino; Aug. added Rif;
Nov./15 mino - to biaxi

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2015
Total Posts : 1149
   Posted 3/26/2018 3:00 PM (GMT -6)   
I’m going to the Philippines in May to visit my girlfriend’s hometown. We’re going to Palawan as well, which is lesser developed. Dengue is a thing there. I’ve been on backpacking groups on Facebook, seeing if it’s been a concern for many people, and it doesn’t seem to be that big of an issue. Though, our immune systems work differently, I guess.

I’ve loosely looked into vaccinations, and the only thing I saw mention of was a malaria something or other. I plan to speak with my PCP about it soon. I’ve heard they offer something in the Philippines. It may be available here too. I’m not sure. I apologize I don’t have specifics. Make an appointment with your provider.

It’s worrisome, but I don’t know. DEET spray. Be mindful of bugs. Not gonna be sleeping in the open, and I’ll be sure to have a bug net handy. Get the vaccinations. I’ll have some of my essential oils, in case I do get some bites. Traveler’s insurance. Try not to think about it too much. That’s how I’m taking it. If I get something, I did my best.

End of the day, you’ve got to live your life. Time doesn’t wait. Lyme doesn’t care about your dreams.

I can’t afford to stay inside. I’m still terrified of high grass, thickly wooded areas, etc. I’ll go outside. Go hiking, but I stick to trails, rocks, don’t let limbs brush against me, and I’m always kicking my feet against the ground, even if know the tickies can grab on, because it makes me feel better. I don’t want malaria or dengue, but I don’t want to sit in my room and think about this type of stuff forever either. I should, because my health is shaky. I can move, my brain works well enough, but I’m limited, and treatment is inadequate. But, I don’t know. I’m young. I’ve got a lust for more of the world. I’m gonna do my best to get better, but I’m gonna go outside, have hobbies, catch flights, go to school, try to be as normal as I can be, no matter how hard, how it hurts, whatever. I’m blessed to do more than some, I guess, even if it might all fall apart a month from now.

Life’s short. If I die, okay. It’ll be a lot shorter, but lol... least I made some memories. Definitely gonna be taking pictures tho, cause it’s hard to trust my memory.

Call me stupid. You’re probably right.

If you’re really worried, I suppose it’d be safer to stay home.
Do the work, be the prize.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2017
Total Posts : 246
   Posted 3/26/2018 5:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I wish I could travel, it is expensive.

Since I've had Lyme n co, I did get several vaccines, one of them Hep A which is the milder one. Now I have reactive antibodies to Hep A (de facto legit I have Hepatitis A now, but it is not very serious, the vaccines were in case I decide to travel. This is normal I think.)

Now Malaria is no joke. The risk is death. The 2 very dangerous and ubiquitous creatures: ticks & mosquitoes. Maybe if you douse yourself with peppermint oil and DEET every day. Still can't get all of them.

Thing about travel is emergencies happen and that contingency can very often get expensive, and no joke the risk is death with malaria et al.

The good thing is that it is also stimulating and it's good to get out and see the world and take in the sights, sounds and smells of another country, and what doesn't kill you will only vaccinate you.

I can't advise to travel or not, but for me it would be overwhelming and cost-prohibitive, never mind how I'm sensitive to light, have unreal feelings and olfactory hallucinations like I'm in a Pixar movie.

Remember you can always stay home. Have a "stay"-cation, watch Netflix or better yet National Geographic or documentary.

Staying with the theme, there is a documentary funded by Bill Gates called "Mosquito."

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2016
Total Posts : 1353
   Posted 3/27/2018 7:24 PM (GMT -6)   
WalkedByFaith - Yikes! That is pretty scary. Fortunately Vivax is more common than Falciparum in Peru and tends to be less deadly. With the caveat that it tends to be more chronic... Neither sounds pleasant though

Girlie - I'm not sure yet. They give you pretty minimal details until after you apply. I've already got yellow fever vaccine. From what I read dengue is not recommended since it can make infection worse? I don't know... It definitely unnerves me a bit but like others said you gotta live life. I'd rather take a chance on the vax than on the real deal illness especially when it's as prevalent as it is in these places

NotQuiteAntonio - I think you're right. I take hikes every day. No point in avoiding danger at all costs. But I'll definitely be covered in deet and permethrin. Hopefully when I apply they'll give me more details. Don't know if i should be taking malaria pills. And if so, I hope i don't just end up herxing...

Borrelia - Not worried about the cost as my parents are going to fund the whole thing. Death on the other hand... That's more my concern lol. Staying home wouldn't be the move though. Need some clinical experience for med school app and probably won't get another chance to travel for the next 8 years if i get accepted XD Going to check out that documentary though!!

I think I've come to some decisions here. Not going to do Peru. I've missed early admission and the rates of Dengue are kind of ridiculous. They have some other travels. I'm sure there are still diseases but it doesn't seem like they are as prevalent. I mean, judging by the conditions we're supposed to be treating. It's a bummer that I will miss that opportunity for plant medicine knowledge from one of the largest natural pharmacies on the planet, but oh well. I suppose I can always do it again down the road.
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