Miracle Drug(s)

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
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Trip End Aug 27, 2010


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At Home Again

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Had your H1N1 shot yet? Scared of needles? If so, better not read on!
We mentioned in the last post that we had started our vaccinations - well, we are almost done now and will soon have all of the necessary drugs we need to take with us. The kids are beginning to feel like pin-cushions, whilst we're feeling more pain in our wallet than in our arms....

Needle count;
Derek:6
Sarah:7
Lauren:10
Alex:10
Total 33 shots

So, what have we been vaccinated against???

Yellow Fever (all)
Seasonal Flu (all)
H1N1 (all)
Hepatitis A (L&A)(D&S already done)
Hepatitis B (all) 
Typhoid (L&A)(D&S already done)
Polio (S)(D,L&A already done)
Rabies (L&A)

Seems like a lot of poking going on, but we saved ourselves 3 shots each and ~$1500 by deciding not to have vaccinations for Japanese Encephalitis! It will only be present in a few of the areas that we are visiting, and not too prevalent in urban areas or during the dry season (which is when we'll be visiting those areas). Derek and Sarah also opted not to have Rabies shots as we're less likely to be trying to pet the cute little puppy ("Mummy, why is he foaming at the mouth?")...and the $660/person price tag helped sway the decision....

Even without the Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies for adults, the total price for vaccinations will be approximately $2600.

Aside from the diseases you can be vaccinated against, there are still lots of other nasties out there, so we'll travel with armfuls of prescription drugs and insect repellent too....to date, we've spent about $600 on prescriptions for Derek and Sarah for altitude sickness, antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs. The kids don't have their prescriptions yet as we're waiting for test results to be sure that they can take one of the drugs before we buy it. As pricey as it may seem to pay for all of these drugs and vaccinations, it's a small price to pay compared to getting sick :-)

It's probably worth mentioning the side effects that some of these drugs can have. The nurses at the travel clinic recommended doing a trial run with the anti-malarials to see how we reacted to them. Derek only has one type of  anti-malarial (Malarone) and that trial went without issue. Sarah has two types and is currently mid-trial with the Mefloquin, which is typically the one that most people have trouble with. 1 in 4 people suffer side effects from Mefloquin and apparently Sarah is one of those.....listed side effects include difficulty sleeping and vivid dreams. So, the first night after taking the first pill was interesting to say the least...."vivid" would not be my first choice descriptor of the dreams that I had...maybe it was too close to Halloween, but let's just say that I was more than happy to get up in the morning and leave those nightmares behind! Fortunately, the "vivid dreams" have subsided and the odd bout of sleeplessness is manageable (reduced by a pint-sized, black and white remedy!). Mefloquin is a once/week drug compared to Malarone which is a daily drug; both drugs are comparable in price/pill, making Mefloquin far cheaper and preferable if the side effects can be tolerated. The kids haven't had a trial yet as we are awaiting test results to be sure that they can take Mefloquin safely before trying it.

Not a bundle of fun, but thanks to the wonders of modern medicine we can brave the world with a little less trepidation than otherwise might have been the case.

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Comments

Dot Grangewood on

Surprised!! Yes it really is me, after a few attempts.

I know the shots are necessary but rather you than me. hope all the preparations are going well. will speak soon. xx

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