Preparing for trips usually involved making a list, checking it twice and then packing everything a night or two before actual departure. Resulting in comments such as “wow you were in Cambodia did you get your yellow fever vaccine?” or “How was the jungle in Vietnam, what anti malarials did you have to take?” My responses consisted of “vaccines, anti malarials??? I needed those”. It just never occurred to me to do these things, and knock wood, I haven’t suffered from a lack of having them.
However, with upcoming travel that could last a year or more and with extended time in a variety of “rustic” locations, I decided to put on my big girl panties, live the motto I learnt in Girl Guides and “Be Prepared”. It also helped that my work’s health plan covered vaccines.
After some research I found a reasonably priced travel clinic that offered all the vaccines I needed and off I went on my lunch hour for the first of many needle sticks. Returning with Yellow Fever in the left and the first of 3 Hep A/B in the right and only 5hrs left to work that day.
Over the next 3 weeks I got the last of my Hep A/B with each one seeming to sting more than the last. I also had my Typhoid tablets that needed to be taken every other day for a total of four tablets. The tricky part was the timing as it had to be on an empty stomach with 3 hours before and after of nothing to eat, and I love food!
Due to being a vet nurse, planning on volunteering in an Ecuadorian wildlife refuge and not to mention that vampire bats were spreading it around Lima, Peru, I decided to get the Rabies vaccine as well. As luck would have it my insurance covered it, although there were numerous arguments with them before they would process it correctly and not make me pay the almost $700 cost to get them.
With vaccinations covered left, right and center it was time to look into medications and put together my travel sized pharmacy. There are so many options to think about as far as what you might need, what the country will most likely have and try not to get so carried away that you have no place for important things, like underwear. Along with some obvious things I have also decided to include a couple of things that, while my destinations may have I am not certain of quality. Any suggestions are always welcome:
Doxycycline – anti malarial
Travelers Diarrhea preventative
Anti fungal cream
Plasters (aka band aids)
Yeast infection treatment
Tums (for heartburn)
Beano (for gas)
A nifty case to put it all in
So here we go into the final weeks of preparations and if nothing else at least I am protected against vampire bats, Montezuma’s revenge and if anyone needs to light a candle after a big meal of beans and rice I’ll just pop a beano to prevent a methane explosion.