"" Writer's Wanderings: World Cruise - Travel Clinic, Ouch!

Monday, November 17, 2014

World Cruise - Travel Clinic, Ouch!

There are two things that make me very anxious--snakes and hypodermic needles. Having twins was a good thing to start out with because then Bob had to come with me to the pediatric appointments and he could hold each one as they got their "puppy shots." I've gotten past that a bit but I still don't like getting shots so when we scheduled an appointment with a travel clinic in our area I was understandably nervous.

Before our appointment we needed to go online and fill in a form telling where in the world we were traveling. Are they serious? This is 108 days and let me count the countries. . .23! Knowing that Madagascar, the Amazon area, and parts of Africa (south, not west) are on our itinerary, I knew that we were in for some kind of preventative actions.

When we arrived and were seated with the nurse consultant, she handed us each a thick book listing all the countries and the things to watch out for in each. It felt like looking at all the disclaimers and side effects from every medicine you've ever seen advertised on TV all at once. I feared my arm was going to be a pin cushion!

This beautiful lady narrowed it down for us to the essentials and it didn't look quite so bad. I was current on my tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, pneumococcal, shingles, and influenza. Is it any wonder I hate shots? We would need some meds for preventing malaria (not the lariam we took once before that made us both loopy) and a booster to our original Hepatitis A that protects us for life. Then came the suggestion of a yellow fever shot and possibly typhoid. Yikes!

The bottom line, we will be on a cruise ship with little travel in the countries where yellow fever and typhoid are prevalent and that travel will be during the day avoiding the high activity time for insects and certainly not eating or drinking on land. The only hitch may be that one of the Caribbean islands we visit after we are in Brazil may require certification that we had been vaccinated prior to our visit to Brazil. The jury is still out on that one. We've heard conflicting stories and until we hear from the cruise line that it's necessary, we're going to pass. If we have to stay on the ship that day, so be it. One less shot sounds good to me.

Vaccinations were not the only thing discussed and we came home with the books that are full of information on what to be careful of in each country. It's mostly common sense stuff starting with "don't drink the water!" If you ever do this for travel, be aware that you will get more information than is necessary just so that they cover all the bases and possibilities. It could almost scare you out of going but remember that knowledge is power--power to travel safely.

By the way the clinic we visited was Passport Health. There are locations all over the USA.

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