Posted by: Matrixity | July 3, 2007

Travel Immunizations

Yesterday was shot day. I went to Passport Healthin North Charleston and got all the shots I will need for the Brazil mission trip. The people there were very professional and had a very nice booklet all made up with my name on the front. I was impressed. No detail was left unturned and I learned a lot . The most surprising was that there is a need to be careful even with bottled water. She said I needed to be sure that I actually break the seal because in some countries water bottles are refilled with tap water of the country with a needle.

The nurse kind of dashed my tentative plans to swim with the pink dolphins. “Stay of out all local water,” was what she recommended. Just take pictures of others swimming with those pink dolphins. Parasites and worms and all sorts of things are in the local water. I can live with that since she put it that way. I left with the impression that my uppermost goal is to stay clear of all local germs, bugs, microbes, mosquitoes and parasites at all costs. I must even brush my teeth with bottled water and drink nothing with any ice. The ice most likely is made with local tap water. In fact she said to drink only bottled water. No other liquid of any kind, whatsoever! She even said to stay away from canned drinks and to take my own straws in the event I absolutely had to confront something in a can.

The shots and pills cost more than I had actually anticipated. I guess they gave me a rough estimate of $600 to begin with. When it was all over the actual cost was $715.00. I got the Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Malaria Pills, Tetanus booster with the whooping cough included, Meningitis and the live virus Typhoid pills. 7 altogether. I jokingly asked if she could give one little shot with all those injections in one vial. She just smiled. I told her I was kidding. She then said she would be using both arms, multiple times. I tried to relax and she began to stick. It was over in minutes but my left shoulder still hurts today. It is a little sore.
In addition, I also got the mosquito kit and the ever so lovely diarrhea kit. Complete with heavy duty repellents and antibiotics. So, I will have treat my clothes ahead of time as the strongest repellent is not for the body. I asked her about B1 and that I had heard it makes you smell bad to those pesky critters. She said that does not work. Then I thought about it last night…maybe some Americanized mosquitoes would be scared off by B1 but not those hefty monsters in the Amazon.

The key point I came away with was that the mosquitoes have many diseases that there are no vaccines for. So if you get sick with one of those illnesses , you will just be very sick. (And let’s hope you can get over that sickness.) She specifically pointed out the Dengue Fever which is in the area I will be going to. The only way to avoid the Dengue Fever is to NOT get bitten by a mosquito that is carrying it. So the heavy duty repelling is the key. After she explained about the diseases with no vaccines that are carried by mosquitoes, I will never look at a mosquito the same way again…not just relatively harmless,  pesky creatures.


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