The nurse at the University of Washington travel center began her consultation by stating that her job is to scare the “living bejeebers out of us”.
While planning for previous international travel, we learned that a trip to a travel clinic is always a great idea if your plans include remote locations. Two hours later, six shots and four pretty sore arms, she did an excellent job. The shots included Yellow Fever, Hep B, Mumps, Measles and Rubella, Flu, Typhoid and Japanese Encephalitis. In addition to the shots, prescriptions were given for malaria, travelers diarrhea, altitude sickness. Some key items we learned while we were there:
- Yellow Fever is recommended for anyone under the age of 60 that is traveling in risk areas. However, once inoculated with the vaccine, there is a 1 in ~225K risk of coming down with Yellow Fever within the 1st 7 days. Many countries in Asia and Africa deny entry without this vaccination.
- Japanese Encephalitis is recommended for those traveling throughout Asia and is the one shot we received that requires 2 shots in a 30 day period.
- In Asia, 80-90% of Malaria pills are counterfeit so best to buy your prescriptions in the States prior to leaving and have friends or family mail refills.
- As a preventative measure for Travelers’ Diarrhea, take 1 Pepto Bismol tablet prior to eating to help reduce risk.
- There are a four options for Malaria pills but not all prescriptions work in all locations. There are certain prescriptions that are recommended for those traveling in Asia and those traveling in the Caribbean.
- Go to the travel clinic no less than 6 weeks prior to travel as some shots require 2 vaccinations.
- Check your insurance as shots and prescriptions can be costly. For example, the malaria prescription for estimate 60 days was estimated around $400 if not covered by insurance. Not all insurance covers all vaccinations.
- GoodRx is an app that will check pricing of prescriptions at pharmacies near you.
Highly recommend UW Travel Center as they were extremely informative and concerned about getting it right and not the time spent with the customer. The other benefit of UW Travel Center, for those close to it, is that you can e-mail them questions while traveling either directly to the nurse or the main mailbox. If you do not live near Seattle, check out your closest university.