“Known for – health carrier of typhoid fever”. Please don’t let that be on my Wikipedia page!!!
In advance of my travels, I spent an hour or so with a travel doctor a few weeks ago to get her opinions on what shots and medicines I should take for travel to SE Asia and Costa Rica. The CDC recommends many different shots for these regions – tetanus, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and malaria. Interestingly, the two regions, while very far from each other, recommended the same round of vaccinations and medicines.
I decided with my travel doc to only get a few of the recommended shots.
The Tdap shot is highly recommended. I didn’t get it because I’d received a tetanus shot in 2007 when I ended up with a blood infection from a blister on my foot. Back then the doc told me I didn’t have enough muscle in my arm and gave me the shot in my rear-end! Ha. I’d like to go back and show them the gun show! Anyone should get one if you haven’t had one in 10+ years.
Hep A (once you get 2 doses you’ll have lifetime immunity – the risk comes from contaminated food and water) – I went ahead and got this one for $80. According to my paperwork, it is not recommended for SE Asia, but was for Costa Rica, hence the shot. If it helps me keep my belly happy while traveling, it’s worth it for me!!
Hep B – most folks in the US get this one as a kid – as long as you got it growing up, it’s not necessary to do it again.
Typhoid Fever – recommended for all countries (some folks think it is low risk/high cost and maybe could skip). I went ahead and got it, in pill form – if you get the shot it will last you 2 years, but the pills last you 5 years. I went the pill route for $90.
Malaria / Jap Encephalitis – my doc said don’t worry about these unless I planned on spending a lot of time in really rural areas or spending many nights camping.
For the rabies vaccine, my doc said don’t worry – as the likelihood of needing this is super low. However, she coached me to have information at the ready in case of bite/scratch to be medivac’d to a hospital ASAP. I bought the travel/health insurance on my flights, so I’m covered for emergency medical needs. Best $50 I ever spent, just in case. My doctor did tell me a particularly horrifying story of a patient of hers who got all scratched up at a monkey sanctuary in Bali…. note to self – don’t wear buttons or jewelry around small mammals!
Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about staying healthy while I travel. I’m packing a little kit of medical supplies, including a pack of antibiotics, to have with me at all times just in case I run into a bug.
Do you have any suggestions to keep healthy when traveling?