Think back to the last time that you were sick. As you lay miserable on the couch sniffling and sneezing, how much would you pay to feel better, or to not get sick in the first place? Then think how much worse it would be if you were in a far off country where you didn’t speak the language. Nobody likes getting shots, or the price tag that comes with it, but we think it’s worth it to be on the safe side.
We finished our last round of shots yesterday, and the final tally is below (not including malaria pills). Although we’re still trying, our insurance hasn’t covered any of it.
Most of these shots are optional, with the exception of yellow fever. Some countries won’t let you enter if you’ve been to a region with the disease and have not had your shot ahead of time. One of the few we chose not to get was the rabies vaccine.
While it may be easy and inexpensive to give your pet a rabies shot, it would have cost us $1200 each!
Even though we’re traveling quite a bit, rabies is one of the more avoidable diseases if you take sensible precautions around animals. Also, in an actual emergency, even with the shot you would still need to get immediate medical care and we won’t be too far (time or distance-wise) from care should we need it.
Did It Hurt?
The most painful shot is Hep A/B. It stings going in, but the pain only lasts five seconds. Then your arm is sore for a few days. Beth says she would still take getting a shot over going to the dentist any day. For typhoid, we took 4 pills over the course of a week, and that caused some minor stomach problems. We got the yellow fever shot yesterday and I’m feeling a bit feverish today, but that’s not uncommon, and much better than getting yellow fever.
Where to Begin
If you’re thinking about going to places like Africa, India and Southeast Asia, find a local travel clinic and bring a copy of your itinerary. The more detailed the better, because the risks vary depending on exactly when and where you go.
Unlike your regular doctor, a travel clinic specializes in knowing which diseases occur where, and what you need to do to protect yourself when you travel. They can provide all the counseling, immunizations and prescriptions you need.
Oh - and get started early. We had to get some of these six months ahead.
Hopefully with a few precautions (and a whole lot of DEET) things will work out. At the very least, we’ll have the peace of mind that we are protected from some of the diseases out there. You can’t put a price on your health.