This year I needed to update my immunizations for my trip to Malawi and Ethiopia. My Polio, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever are outdated and I’ve never had Hepatitis A.
Today I met with Becky at Passport Health to discuss just what my travel needs were going to be.
The final list? Here you go!
- Hepatitis A injection
- Polio injection
- Yellow Fever injection
- Oral Typhoid series
Still need to get:
- Tetanus booster
- TB skin test (last one was over a year ago, will be able to procur this at work)
- Influenza vaccine (I never get this)
- Meningococcal meningitis vaccine (I’ve been exposed so many times to this I must have some sort of immunity)
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). I have now had this vaccine three times and while I have converted on my mumps and rubella, my titers continually come back negligible for measles, so I’m figuring no additional attempts will work either.
Definitely don’t need for this trip:
- Japanese Encephalitis vaccine :-) TRUE!
We also discussed malaria and dengue fever. Since it is winter, the chances of getting these diseases are lower as the mosquitos are fewer and farther between, but, as history has proven to me, I can get malaria from that one mosquito. The malaria carrying mosquito gets you at night, the dengue carrying mosquito gets you during the day. When in Zambia I didn’t take malaria meds nor did I use insect repellent. I will use repellent this year. I’m still thinking about my options for meds. The cheap option is doxycycline, but that often leads to an unpleasant other kind of infection. The other “cheaper” options have given me night terrors and generally creepy feelings which make them very undesireable to take again. The best option is MUY expensive. Almost $9.00 a pill! AND I’d need 60 pills. I don’t even want to do the math on that. We’ll just have to see! For sure I buy some Arinate when I get to Africa. I want that on hand whether or not I’m pre-treating. That’s a miracle drug for malaria and I don’t want to be without it.
Then there’s avian (bird) flu and cholera. Since I’m in control of food preparation and water sanitization, I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to avoid getting either of these. Just gotta remember to keep “my kids” away from any chickens and not serve any eggs that aren’t fully cooked!
Lastly, I picked up a prescription for Cipro. I can take that for traveler’s diarrhea or an upper respiratory infection.
I got the three injections today. Praying they don’t make me sick. The last time I got the Yellow Fever one I was sick (gastro stuff and fever) for days and my arm was useless and excrutiatingly painful to the touch for over a week. That was years ago. Maybe this time it won’t be so bad. I’ll wait to see if these round of shots makes me sick before I tackle the week-long regimen of oral Typhoid vaccination. That one can cause pretty good gastro side effects and I don’t want to pile that on anything else I might be feeling!
AND we (Becky-also a nurse-and I) talked about my working there in the future! Just to fill-in for her, nothing major. She took my info and seemed very delighted at the possibility of having someone who could help out there in a pinch, or for vacations, etc.!
This is the first time I have used a traveler’s health clinic. Very convenient, very easy. Always before I have had to call around and find this place or that place who could accommodate my needs. When I showed up at Passport Health, Becky had already prepared a full packet of very useful information and recommendations. Live in Colorado? Ever need to discuss travel needs and get shots and scripts? Consider Passport Health. I guess it’s another Unpaid Service Endorsement from me! :-) It’s a pay up front business, so I need to look into filing a claim with my insurance to see what they might pick up. Never done that before. New skill to learn! :-)
I haven’t been really great at posting lately, but if you don’t hear from me for awhile, you’ll know why! (Because I’m curled up sick in my bed not far from a bathroom!)
Now, as I am expecting company in a few days, I’m off to clean my house, just in case I’m not feeling up to it later!
02/18/09, an update:
I should have updated this post long ago! I had absolutely no side effects from any of my shots, not even any arm soreness. I ended up choosing doxycycline for my malaria prophylaxis and was diligent about taking it as directed and diligent with my bug repellent. Despite being chewed alive at dusk, I did not contract malaria (which was a great relief, having had it twice before). I had only some minor gastro-intestinal side effects from the oral typhoid, but nothing hardly even to mention. It could have even been coincidental. The next time I travel to a place where meningitis is recommended, I will probably get that vaccine. And, if it is available, I am considering getting the rabies series as well. But as of this update, rabies is only available post-exposure as there is a shortage of it.
Bye for now! And remember, traveling smart includes getting your vaccines!