Prevention, Vaccines and Natural Options

Prevention: Vaccines & Natural Options

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The following information outlines the risks of certain types of travel and the diseases that one may come across and is taken from one of the chapters in the book. Not all forms of travel incur the same risks and so the degree of prevention used should reflect the risks of travel. It also looks at the various vaccine options, their risks and benefits and alternatives to vaccines if natural prevention is to be used. The following diseases are discussed in this chapter:
Cholera; Diphtheria; Hepatitis A; Hepatitis B and C; Influenza; Japanese Encephalitis; Lyme Disease (and other tick bites); Malaria; Meningitis; Polio; Rabies; Tetanus; Typhoid; Yellow Fever.

There are other diseases, especially found in tropical countries that one has to be aware of  and are discussed in the book but which no conventional prevention through vaccine is offered e.g. dengue fever, another mosquito spread disease. Some of the diseases above are fairly common e.g. Hepatitis A, Lyme disease, Malaria and Typhoid while the others are generally very rarely seen and for most travelers, there is little risk. However, please read the following information and confirm with other sources before taking any decision what type of prevention should be used. Do consult with medical and health experts as necessary to ensure you are confident of the decisions being made. In conventional medicine, the most common form of medical prevention is through vaccinations against specific diseases. This form of immunization is generally effective but each vaccine has its own level of effectiveness and also certain risks; details of this are discussed below.

Homeopathy and other forms of natural medicine also offer specific medicines that can act as prevention against certain diseases. These can take the form of remedies that would also be used to treat the same conditions and can be taken beforehand to help limit or prevent an illness if the risk is perceived to justify it. There are also specific herbal and other natural products that support the immune system or particular organ. There are also homeopathic preparations of the various bacteria, viruses or parasites that causes diseases. These are called nosodes, and are highly diluted (potentized) forms of the pathogen and are the closest analogy to vaccinations. They are totally safe and do not carry any infectious element because of the degree of their dilution but they work in a similar way to a vaccine by stimulating a specific immunity to a particular disease. (Please read more on these remedies at the end of the chapter).

Having a robust immune system is the best way to avoid illness or at least to avoid becoming seriously sick, so doing what one can to establish optimal health is important. Natural medicines work by stimulating the body┬┤s own immunity, so in the process of combating illness it is stimulating the capacity of the body for self-healing. Another way is to take precautions to avoid the various bacteria, viruses and parasites which may pose a threat to an unfamiliar immune system. The decision as to what type of prevention to use depends on a number of factors, including the risks involved and the confidence a person may have in looking at all the options. In terms of choosing conventional vaccines, decisions need to be made based on the destination countries, the length of time in said countries and the overall risk involved. Often it is recommended that a wide range of vaccines be taken as a general precaution, even when the risk is very low. The discussion below seeks to give a perspective on particular risks so that an individualized choice may be made. The stages listed are somewhat arbitrary but give an idea of the risk levels involved.

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