Wednesday, December 28, 2011

To Vaccinate or Not??

Looks kind of scary doesn't it?

We have traveled outside of the United States many times on vacation. Only once did we have to take medication or have vaccines, that was when we traveled to Peru in South America. Since this time it will be a little more than a vacation, and we will actually be moving to Belize, our doctor recommended we check out the CDC (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for guidelines for anyone traveling or living in foreign countries. So we sat down with our doctor in his office and he pulled up the CDC web site and gave us a list of the recommended vaccines we should consider. We plan on traveling throughout Central America, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, so we thought that the pain of taking a few pricks to the arm would be worth it. 

Now I absolutely hate getting shots. I mean really who doesn't?? Just thinking about taking some shots to the arm was causing my anxiety level to go up. Our doctor said we should go to our local health department because the vaccines would be a lot cheaper than he could give them to us. You should receive these vaccines 4 to 6 weeks before travel to be fully protected from these diseases. We were already running out of time and Hep vaccines require several trips to the doctor for a series of shots. According to my doctor the CDC recommended TDAP, Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid and Rabies.

Hepatitis A - Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food and water.

Typhoid Fever -  Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection. It occurs worldwide and is transmitted by contaminated food.

Hepatitis B - Hepatitis B is a viral illness transmitted through blood products, contaminated medical instruments. 

Rabies - Rabies is transmitted by a bite or scratch from rabid infected animal.

DTAP - DTAP vaccine protects from diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough).

Bill getting his second series of Hep.

I am happy to report that the shots didn't hurt at all. We obviously had a nurse with lots of experience and a good aim. She said our arms would be sore and we should take ibuprofen for the next two days afterwards. My arm never got sore, not even once.

My doctor was right, the vaccines were pretty pricey. We have spent $436.00 for both of us so far going through our local health department and we have one more series of Hep to go. We are also taking the accelerated version of the Hep vaccine over a 4 week period of time instead of the normal 6 months. We opted out of getting the Rabies shots. Just one series was almost $200 each. We decided we would just take our chances on it and hope we don't run into a rabid animal. As one friend said the other day, these things are just a small price to pay to live in paradise. I think I agree.

Moving or visting a foreign country, do you plan on getting the recommended vaccines?

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