BootsnAll Travel Network

Nurses and needles and pills, Oh my!

For someone who is generally healthy and rarely gets sick, I hadn’t really given too much thought to what medical precautions I should be taking while on the road. Turns out I not only should have been thinking about it, I should have gotten a second job to pay for it all. These darn medical bills are really going to cut into my beer budget. 🙂

The first travel doctor I talked to wanted $60 for the office visit and then $200-300 more depending on what vaccines and pills I got. So I decided to do some research first. The Center for Disease Control has a great website with loads of information for travelers. I finally decided I can get by with just a few of the more common vaccines.

I don’t plan on being off the beaten path too much, but there are obviously a lot of risks of food-bourne diseases, and lots of nasty stuff that you can get from mosquitoes. And you never know when the urge to get another tattoo might strike, so I have to think about nasty needles too. Luckily, the University Health Center has a great travel clinic, and their prices are much better than the other clinics in town. And even though I’m ony a University employee for one more day, I was able to get in for a consultation this morning. The staff was great and spent about an hour with me going over my travel plans and making sure I knew all I needed to know about drinking the water (don’t do it), cooking the food (the hotter, the better), and avoiding the bugs (just say DEET). I got my first two shots this morning and will go back two more times this week. My last shot will be in four weeks, just before I leave.

Here’s the list:

Yellow Fever vaccine – Thanks to the abundance of skeeters, this is required to even get into parts of Africa.

Hepatitis A – You never know about the food vendors overseas. But then again, I’ve seen some pretty nasty stuff in some of the local diners around here. (I’ll save that for another post…)

Hepatitis B – For that long-awaited half-sleeve tattoo, and the very slim chance that I’ll get to fornicate with the locals. (Don’t forget to wear your rubbers when it rains, Timmy!)

Typhoid – Oooh yeah, pass me a glass of water and a piece of that lukewarm chicken!

Polio – Really? I thought this one died a long time ago. Oh well, what’s another $29?

Tuberculosis Test – Explain this one to me. They don’t vaccinate you for TB, just test to see if you have it.

That’s it for the needles, now for the pills. Anti-malarials are the big one, again thanks to all the skeeters in SE Asia and Africa. Malarone seems to be the drug of choice, but damn is it expensive. As in $5 per pill. Ouch! That hurts more than a dozen needles in my arm. I also got a Rx for Cipro to fend off “traveler’s diarrhea” and any other infections I might happen across, and a Rx for Diamox for the Kilimanjaro climb. In all my trips up the South Sister and my skydives, I’ve never had altitude sickness. But Kili is just a wee bit higher than I’m used to, and altitude sickness is not fun.

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2 Responses to “Nurses and needles and pills, Oh my!”

  1. Donovan Says:

    You can get malaria treated for super cheap in Africa! Lariuma, Melfoquine can do interesting things to your body.

  2. Posted from United States United States
  3. admin Says:

    So I’ve heard. The only thing I’d really be interested in taking is Malarone, but at $5 a pill, I’m on the fence. Normally I’d take my chances, but for some reason mosquitoes really, really like me. I’ll also be in SE Asia in May/June so I have to think about the risks there as well, especially if I’m in Northern Thailand or Laos in the rainy season.

  4. Posted from United States United States