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Staying Healthy on the Road Medical info, e.g. malaria, vaccinations, travel medical tips, medical insurance, where to find a doctor.
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  #1  
Old 3 Jul 2010
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SeanF's RTW Planning Brain Dump: Health

Quick info about the trip
  • Departure date: Aug 1, 2010
  • From: Silver City, New Mexico USA
  • General route: From USA -> Canada -> N Asia -> Middle East -> Africa to bottom -> S. America -> C. America -> USA
Vaccinations, First Aid, Preventatives, Health Insurance

List of vaccinations:
  • Hepatitis A & B (combo)
  • Typhoid (oral)
  • Polio
  • Yellow Fever
  • Meningococcal
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (combo)
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (combo)
Rx:
  • Anti-malarials (doxycycline)
  • Anti-diarrhea (Cipro)
OTC, preventatives:
  • Multi-vitamin
  • Allergy pills
  • L-Lysine
  • Sunscreen (SPF 60)
  • DEET
Vaccinations notes:
1. Tick-borne encephalitis is a major concern for eastern & central Russia/Siberia, but the vaccination is not available in the US. By the time I get to Russia it will be too late to start the vaccination regimen.
So I'll have to rely on DEET, tick self-checks, and long-sleeves, pants & a hat for prevention. Just FYI, Japanese Encephalitis is mosquito-borne.

2. I received all 10 of those vaccs in one sitting. Some go into the shoulder muscle (IM, or intramuscular), others go into the tricep area (SubQ, or subcutaneous). Aside from soreness at the injection spots I felt no ill effects.

3. Some vaccinations require multiple visits. Rabies requires 3 injections (at $250 per!), spaced out over 1 month, Hep A & B combo and even longer period -- 1st and last are 6 months apart. So start early. I didn't and will only get the first two, and so have less protection.

4. Out of pocket costs for the vaccinations will be about $1400. My health insurance (Aetna) says they will reimburse the cost, but it's still being processed. Will post results.

5. A Yellow Fever vaccination, along with the official card w/stamp, is required for entry into some countries.

Rx notes:
1. There are a few choices for anti-malarials. Some malaria bugs have developed resistance to some anti-malarial drugs, others differ on side effects, and also on price. Malarone seems to have fewer side effects, but costs twice as much as doxycycline. The CDC site has a list of countries with their respective malaria bugs and to which drugs they have developed resistance.

OTC:
1. L-lysine helps keep cold sores away, also seems to shorten healing time if one develops. I get them if I get too much sun and stress. 500mg a few times per day, especially on an empty stomach, helps a lot.
2. It turns out that 34% DEET is strong enough to do the job. I didn't know this and got the 100% stuff. I'm sure there's no harm other than to my wallet.

First Aid
I built a kit piecewise:
Non-stick absorbent pads for road-rash
Burn ointment (both for sunburn and "oh I guess that header pipe really is hot" moments)
A few big surgical compresses
Eye wash
Wound glue
Anti-itch ointment
Ace bandage

Health Insurance:
I purchased a 1-year policy from Multinational Underwriters, including a $1MIL limit, and $500k of evacuation insurance. No exclusions for motorcycles of any displacement; from my research, most travel insurance policies will exclude any moto/scooter over ~200cc). I also included the Sports Rider coverage for things like diving, bunjee jumping, caving, etc. Important note: This policy will not cover me in the USA.
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Old 4 Jul 2010
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The one thing I would not travel without in my first aid kit is an Antibiotic powder for treatment of even the smallest cuts and scraps. The liquids and creams are useless in hot climates. In the US you can buy Polysporin.

Take care with the Deet, 40% strength melted the lenses on my Oakleys

If you can buy them over the counter get a General Antibiotic for stomach infections / food poisoning, only use if symptoms have not cleared in a few days.

Have a great trip.
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Old 5 Jul 2010
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tucson, Arizona USA
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Quote:
The one thing I would not travel without in my first aid kit is an Antibiotic powder for treatment of even the smallest cuts and scraps. The liquids and creams are useless in hot climates. In the US you can buy Polysporin.

Take care with the Deet, 40% strength melted the lenses on my Oakleys

If you can buy them over the counter get a General Antibiotic for stomach infections / food poisoning, only use if symptoms have not cleared in a few days.

Have a great trip.
Noted...thanks for the tips!
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  #4  
Old 5 Jul 2010
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would take my own syringes sealed as a just in case.
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  #5  
Old 10 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selous View Post
would take my own syringes sealed as a just in case.
Not a bad idea, thanks!
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