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Travel Medicine

I am not a hypochondriac and I am not sick.  It is actually very rare that I get sick and it normally goes away after I drink some water and get some sleep.

But the idea of being away from home for so long (6 months), on a very low budget and staying in a lot of developing countries, kept me thinking.

I certainly do not want to have stomach ache in a long chicken-run bus ride in Africa or in a campground in Asia, so I am doing some research to cover all fronts, if possible.

So, what do we have done so far?
First, we checked the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from there we made the list of all necessary vaccinations, see post from March 9 on the topic.

But recently, I came across some articles in the Departures magazine on the topic of Travel Medicine which I liked, so I am recommending it. It gives some useful links and suggestions. Here are just a few of the topics they covered:

– Vaccinations;
– Insurance policies;
– First Aid Kit for travelers.

On the vaccinations, we already got:

1. the pills for Typhoid Fever (Bacteria);
2. the shot for Yellow Fever (Virus);
3. the shot for Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Bacteria);
4. the shots for Hepatitis (Virus);
5. the shot for Meningitis (Bacteria);
6. the shot for Polio (Virus).

Next, insurance policies.

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Vaccinations

We went to the county health department to make sure our vaccinations are current. We did not try to compare costs with a private clinic but we are assuming that this is a cheaper option.

Before the appointment we checked the Center for Disease Control website for what vaccinations were recommended for the countries where we want to go. We might have ended up getting the same vaccinations without the preliminary research – the nurse at the clinic also checked the CDC website during the appointment – but I think it was worth the time to read the scary details.

We each got five shots – two in one arm and three in the other. The nurse was very good at giving the shots. But, the whole appointment took a couple hours and, for two people who are wimpy when it comes to needles, the waiting just made it worse. We also have a series of typhoid fever prophylaxis pills to take over the next few days. This option was a few cents cheaper and the protection lasts five years compared with the shot which lasts only two years.

I had documentation showing that I didn’t need a couple shots so the shots each of us took were different. I got H1N1, Seasonal Flu, Polio, meningitis and Tdap. My wife got shots for Yellow Fever, Polio, meningitis, Tdap, and the second of the Hepatitis B series. She still needs to go back in about a month to get the last Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B shots. She took the first Hepatitis A and B shots in a private clinic and they were much more expensive.

We didn’t know that it was recommended to take Polio boosters. Also, we found out that rabies vaccination wasn’t really all that helpful. It is a series of shots and even if we were bitten by a wild animal we would still have to have more shots.

The bill for all the shots came to about 250-275 USD each and four sore arms.

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