Since returning from Uganda for the 2nd time this year, I receive emails and fb messages on a regular basis concerning vaccines and medicines for International travel to a 3rd world country.
For Uganda specifically, the main threats are yellow fever and malaria. I did not get a yellow fever vaccine either time, nor did I take the prescribed malaria medication. (NOTE: There is NO malaria vaccine). In my research, I found that both the yellow fever vaccine and the malaria medication lower the immune system and make the body more susceptible to fighting illness in a 3rd world country. I also know many people who contracted malaria, while on the malaria medication. My research has found a more powerful way to prevent malaria and yellow fever, which I will share below. First. let’s start with yellow fever.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the yellow fever virus. It is found in certain parts of Africa and South America. Yellow fever is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Before going to Uganda for the first time, I spent many hours researching the CDC website and speaking to yellow fever vaccine specialists. At first, I almost fell for the lie that I could not enter the country without the yellow fever vaccine. So I continued to research. The CDC website will lead you to believe you don’t have a choice other than vaccination to enter the country. They call it “required” vs “recommended” to enter the country. Uganda is “required”. What I found (after hours and hours of research) is the word required still does not mean mandatory. In the same way we have been led to believe a child can’t enter school without “required” shots (NOT TRUE) is the same way we have been led to believe you can’t enter certain countries without the “required” shots (NOT TRUE). There is always this one little world left out, called: EXEMPTIONS
HOW TO GET AN EXEMPTION FROM YELLOW FEVER VACCINE? I learned that after getting the yellow fever vaccine, you are given a stamped and signed “International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis” card. Also referred to as the ICVP, or sometimes just called the “yellow card”. The CDC tells you that everyone who enters a country that requires yellow fever vaccination, must carry and show the yellow fever vaccine card. See image below.
Then I learned that this card has a section for medical exemptions. See right side of image. Bingo! So… I went on the official government website and ordered my own yellow card. They came in a pack of 25, but I was willing to pay for all 25 of them. I then went to my MD and had him sign the medical exemption. I had no reason for my medical exemption, other than that “I may suffer from a vaccine reaction”. Which was certainly true. I may have had a vaccine reaction (many people do), but I wasn’t willing to take the chance. Please read the medical contraindications section on the CDC website for those who should NOT receive this vaccine. NOTE: I wasn’t asked to show the yellow card or my medical exemption on either of my trips to Uganda. No-one ever asked to see it.
The following information on medical waivers & exemptions is taken directly from CDC website:
Medical Waivers (Exemptions)
For medical contraindications, a physician who has decided to issue a waiver should fill out and sign the Medical Contraindications to Vaccination section of the ICVP (Figure 3-02). The clinician should also do the following:
- Give the traveler a signed and dated exemption letter on the physician’s letterhead stationery, clearly stating the contraindications to vaccination and bearing the stamp used by the yellow fever vaccination centers to validate the ICVP. (I did this part too and think it’s very important to follow exactly what the CDC says to do concerning proper medical exemptions. It’s not worth having problems at immigration)
- Inform the traveler of any increased risk for yellow fever infection associated with non-vaccination and how to minimize this risk by avoiding mosquito bites. (Hello, mosquito nets? Yes. This is the most practical way to minimize the risk. SLEEP UNDER A MOSQUITO NET).
According to the CDC website: “Because of the risk of serious adverse events that can occur after yellow fever vaccination, clinicians should only vaccinate people who 1) are at risk of exposure to YFV or 2) require proof of vaccination to enter a country. To further minimize the risk of serious adverse events, clinicians should carefully observe the contraindications and consider the precautions to vaccination before administering yellow fever vaccine (Table 3-23)”. So that’s what I did. I minimized the risks of serious adverse events, by opting out of the vaccine.
I do not believe that the yellow fever vaccine is effective in preventing yellow fever. That is why I choose not to receive the vaccine, and instead choose a different route to protect myself. I’ll share my immune building route below.
For more questions concerning the yellow fever vaccine and to learn which countries “require” and which countries “recommend”, click (HERE) to enter the CDC website.
Malaria is a parasitic blood disease which is transmitted by the anopheles (infected female) mosquito. There is currently no malaria vaccine. The malaria meds that are prescribed to people are awful. They do yucky things to your body. Do your own research though. This post isn’t about trying to talk you out of taking something to prevent malaria. Malaria does really yucky things to your body too. This post is about a sharing a more effective and safer way to prevent malaria. One of the most powerful ways to fight malaria is through a powerful combination of wormwood, black walnut, and licorice root. We took these in tincture form and put the drops in our water bottle each morning. You can can get these at Whole Foods or order online. We order from vitacost.
MOSQUITO NETS: Please, SLEEP UNDER A MOSQUITO NET. The people who live in 3rd world countries are not begging for malaria meds. They are in need of mosquito nets to sleep under. For $10, you can provide a mosquito net to vulnerable people in 3rd world countries. I did a post about 5 months ago called: Mosquito Nets Prevent Malaria. I had a goal to raise enough money to purchase 30 mosquito nets in one day. I raised enough money to purchase 32. God is cool like that. Read more about that (HERE)
After malaria, I believe this is the biggest health threat while visiting or living in a 3rd world country: SANITATION ISSUES. Unclean drinking water, contaminated food, and lack of proper sanitation for hand washing. With these things come parasites, bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. The water is so dirty that even taking a shower in it can provide risks. Don’t shave in dirty water. Don’t drink dirty water.
The best way to stay healthy in this sort of environment is to build the immune system, not weaken it. Malaria meds and vaccines only weaken the immune system. They do not strengthen it.
During both of my trips to Uganda, I took a daily regimen of many things that built my immune system and kept it strong, as well as fought sickness.
*Young Living Essential oils (Thieves, Lavender, Peppermint, and Lemon were our go-to-oils). These oils can treat just about everything. If you are not familiar with YL oils, please click (HERE) to more
*Throat coat tea for sickness, colds, sorethroats, & coughing. We bought local honey while in Uganda and put in our hot tea with lemon. It is very common to get the “Ugandan cough” and this tea works wonders.
*Homeopathic tummy soothers (great for upset tummies)
*A good probiotic
*White willow (great for pain)
*Scullcap (also great for pain, but also helped with restful sleep)
*Colloidal silver (one of the most effective natural antibiotics; anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral)
*Super Lysine (a great immune builder). Also has Vitamin C, Echinacea, Licorice, Propolis, and Garlic
*Astragulus Root (another great immune builder). Great for flu & colds
*Hyssop (another great immune builder) Good for blood cells, respiratory health, digestive benefits, and much more
*Tea tree oil (so good for poison ivy and ring worm other skin ailments). All of which I’ve had in Uganda.
*Rescue Remedy (a natural sleep aide. A must have when traveling)
*Arnica cream and Arnica homeopathics. Great for pain, muscle aches, sprained ankles, etc…
*Raw garlic. By the end of my 2nd trip to Uganda, when I felt the nasty’s coming on. I cut up pieces of garlic and swallowed like a pill. That was my “antibiotic”
*Coconut Oil: A Must have! We use it for everything from insect bites and burns to taken internally for immune system.
*Water: Drink TONS of clean bottled water. Don’t get dehydrated. Clean drinking water is so important to staying free of sickness!
Everything in our “medicine cabinet” not only helped with pain and ailments and common sickness and illness, but also served as immune builders.
Here are a few more up-close pictures are what I consider “MUST-HAVES” when traveling to a 3rd world country.
Colloidal Silver and Astragalus Root (These serve as a natural antibiotic and a powerful immune builder) Drops can be put into a water bottle to drink throughout the day.
A good Probiotic
I can’t stress enough how important it is to constantly strengthen the immune system on a daily basis while in a 3rd world country. A yellow fever vaccine and a prescription malaria drug are not going to keep you “safe”, “healthy”, or “protected”. You must take a proactive approach to keeping yourself safe. A “preventative” approach (vaccines & meds), which do not offer effective prevention, is not going to cut it. I know many people who take this approach and end up very sick either in country or when they get home.
Lastly, I read a comment recently on a thread that said…”Anyone against vaccinations needs to travel to a 3rd world country and watch what yellow fever, polio, and malaria and all sorts of other nasty virus’s do to entire populations”. Oh my…how misinformed is this comment. As someone who HAS traveled to a 3rd world country, I feel like I have the knowledge to comment: As I shared earlier, there is no such thing as a malaria vaccine. There is also no vaccine for “nasty viruses” as this person was referring to. The truth is…entire populations of people in 3rd world countries are dying from malnutrition and sanitation issues. The people are undernourished, not under-vaccinated. They need food and clean drinking water. They need soap and water to wash their hands. Imagine drinking the same water that animals poop in and eating maybe 1 meal a day. And we wonder why the people are so sick. They have NO clean drinking water. They have NO food. If anyone truly has a heart to help those in 3rd world countries, please feed the people and give them clean drinking water. They do NOT need vaccines.
By the way, I adopted a child from a third world country. The last thing he needed was a vaccine.