One of the costly pre-trip activities we have had to recently undergo is getting our vaccinations for our upcoming trip for Central America. I was lucky that I was mostly up to date since my 2013 trip in South America however, Ali was not so lucky and became a human pin cushion.
What did we have to get;
- Polio booster – According to our doctor in many developing countries children receive a live vaccine administered orally. which means there is a slight risk of infection. As we aim to become English Teachers we are likely to be spending time with children, therefore we opted to get this booster;
- Typhoid – Can be administered via injection or orally, there are also combination vaccines with Hep A. The Typhoid immunisation will generally lasts 3 years;
- Hep A – Requires 2x injections for at least 20 years cover;
- Tetanus – It was recommended to us if your last one was over 10 years ago; and
- Rabies – Rabies is fatal, and Central America and Asia are considered risk areas. Although the vaccination doesn’t prevent rabies it can buy you more time if bitten or scratched and it also helps reduce the amount of treatment required.
What we didn’t get
- Yellow fever – We were both already covered for this from previous trips, but otherwise this one was recommended;
- Meningitis – this was a personal choice; and
- Flu jab – again a personal choice.
What we still need to decide;
- Malaria treatment – as per the Fit for Travel website (http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx ), most of Central America is low risk. However, there are a few pockets where the risk increases. We will keep you posted with our decision. There are also other mosquito borne illnesses in the regional such as Dengue and Chikungunya fever. Prevention from bites is the only option for these fevers; and
- Other travel medications – Our doctor provided us with a list of other recommended medication to take, this mostly related to treatment of travellers’ diarrhoea
What to know before you go
- You can see a specialised travel doctor rather than just your regular GP;
- Visit the doctor sooner rather than later, for example to ensure you can receive a full dose of the rabies vaccine you need to have at least 7 weeks set aside before you leave;
- Budget for it, depending on how many vaccinations you require it can get very expensive; and
- Keep a record, our doctor provided us with a universal vaccination booklet. Make sure you also keep this on you as evidence of your vaccinations as some countries require evidence for certain vaccines prior to entry.
Keep in mind that we are not medical professionals, the above is our personal experience only so please seek your own advice specialised to your needs and destinations.
Katie and Ali