(Note: If you’ve traveled extensively, this post probably contains a lot of info you already know. If you haven’t traveled much, but plan to in the future, some of it might be useful.)
I got the results from my tuberculosis test today, negative as expected. The TB test was part of a series of needles I had stuck into me Wednesday to make sure I had all the medical stuff I needed to travel. The TB itself is mainly for China, since I will have a fairly long stay there — the test is just a baseline, six weeks after I get back I’ll have to take that test again to be sure I haven’t contracted the virus. In addition to the skin prick for TB, I got three vaccines:
Flu: Parts of both Mexico and China are in the tropical regions, which have a year-round flu season. The travel clinic had some left-over flu vaccine, so I decided to take it, but she told me that I should get another shot in China when this year’s vaccine comes out. This was also the least painful of the vaccines.
Hep-A booster: Hepatitis A and B vaccinations are required for international travel. I already had heb B before going to college, and I got the first round of hep A before going to China last year. Now that I have the booster, I understand I should be covered for life. I noticed that the hep A vaccine hurt more than the flu shot, I thought it used a higher gauge needle, but the doctor told me that it’s just a heavier shot.
Typhoid: You can find typhoid in both Mexico and China, but again, this is mainly for China, since it’s an extended stay. Typhoid is also recommended for “adventurous eaters” (I can be a tad adventurous, but not too crazy), and for rural areas (which I don’t intend to visit all that much, at least for these trips). There are two ways to get a typhoid vaccine — the shot runs $60 and lasts two years, and the oral vaccine (taken every other day for seven days) costs about $40 and lasts five years, but it has to be refrigerated. I don’t have a refrigerator in the dorm, and I don’t want to deal with having to remember to fill the prescription while I’m home during the summer, so I just got the shot this time. This was the worst shot, made my shoulder a bit sore the rest of the day. Not terribly bad, but when I renew in two years I think I’ll go with the pills.
Well, that’s all for the moment.