There’s a dark side to travel planning…no Darth Vader isn’t going to pop up and throttle your throat or light sabre your ass but you will be poked and prodded…
Yes I’m talking about the dreaded travel jabs.
The travel jabs are there to help innoculate you from various diseases around the world. Seeing as I’m going half way round the world thanks to my 2012 travel plans, it’s a pretty good bet that I will need plenty. And oh I did. So now after my arm resembles a recovering heroin addict’s, here’s what I needed:
Typhoid – very prevalent in third world countries just by drinking from their water supply. So always remember to use bottled water (check the seal hasn’t been broken).
Hepatitis A and B – infections and diseases of the liver. You really need this if you are travelling to SE Asia. Hep A jab are free on the NHS but Hep B is free only at certain places with their rules etc. I only managed to get mine free as I fully charmed the knickers off the travel nurse! Ain’t I clever!
Rabies – as I had a lengthy course of this when I went to Uganda, I only needed a booster but by god it hurt! Read below for my side effects for this… But if you are thinking that this jab stops you from getting rabies, (nearly wrote rabbits!) you are sadly wrong. You may be thinking, why did I get this in the first place if it’s not going to work? Well, the vaccination does delay the symptoms for longer which enables you to get to hospital as quick as you can if you get bitten by a rabid animal or by Ryan Brown of Just Chucking’ It (he seems to be becoming a wild animal around Wellington) in the middle of nowhere. So as I would like to work with animals, I think it’s a good bet to get this. You never know what that monkey is monkeying about…
Japanese E – this is pretty much undecided. Unless you are staying in a very rural area and going to be wrestling pigs (where Jap E comes from as mostiqutos feast on them) then its a pretty safe bet you are going to be ok. However, if you do feel you do want them then by all means go ahead. I decided not to have it but I will endeavour to ensure that I keep covered up and using a mostiquto net if I do find myself in a very rural place.
So I’m sure you would like to know how I coped after each jab. Well, I’ve had loads of jabs before so I knew that I could either expect a headache, tiredness or a swollen arm that lasts the night. Sure enough, this happened with most of the jabs but with the rabies booster jab…it was a different story…
Hurtling myself in the nice bosom of my bed, I was utterly shattered. It really had been a long day of dealing with spreadsheets on computers whilst maintaining a logarithm in your head, dance practices, gym sessions and swimming. I also had the dreaded rabies jab in the middle of the day. Lying there, I rubbed my arm where the needle entered, it felt puffy and angry with redness. I told my arm to calm down and that the jab was only ‘armless! (hey! Hey!)
Falling asleep, I felt lethargic and achy but I put them out of my mind as I slipped into a dream of travelling with Amy Pond (lush!) but I was startled awake before a Slitheen could kiss me to find myself breaking out into cold sweats.
Glancing at the clock. It was already half 1 and I felt like I slept for hours whereas in fact it has only been 2. I shivered and wrapped another blanket around my bed and promptly fell asleep.
Soon enough, after half an hour, I woke up again only this time in a raging fever. Sweating profusely and making the bed damp, I became convinced that someone was breaking in the house.
Welcome to deliriousness!
I clambered out of bed and paused halfway down the stairs thinking someone was helping themselves to goodies in the kitchen. With a shaking hand (from the fever, not being scared), I leant over from the stairs and peered into the darkness, sweat droplets hanging from my eyelashes…
That’s when some sort of realism crept in persuading me to go back to bed. Thus I did.
Waking up 2 hours later, I had a banging headache like a woodpecker drilling a hole in my skull but between breaks, woody was doing his signature call. Swallowing some headache tablets, I decided to stay up as it was getting light anyway and got a quick shower.
That’s when I glanced at my arm which by now resembled arnold swaggenzenger’s…I wish, but it was that big. After a hearty brekkie, I decided I was okay enough to go to work but I felt so so so so so tired all day at work. And I never want to go through that delirious pains ever again!
But I know it will be all worth it when i do work with wild animals and I have that satisfaction at the back of my mind knowing I’m protected for longer.
What were your travel jabs? Did you have any side effects?
Insofar as rabies goes, just get them on the ground in your country of choice, as a proper course of rabies inoculations costs much less in Thailand for example, than in my native Canada.
Thailand = 5 shots … @ $25 a shot approx …. $125 total
Canada = 5 shots … @ $300-400 a shot …. $ARM LEG FIRST BORN
Though if you are going to Africa, I would get it before, as medical facilities are less quality and less reliable than in Asia!
My boyfriend and I just had 2 jabs yesterday for Thailand, Hep A and Typhoid (combined) and also Tetanus. Both of us were in so much pain in the evening, I could barely move to get into bed! I don’t remember them being this uncomfortable as a kid – but maybe my pain threshold has really gone down since then! Anyway – you’re so right, this is definitely the worst bit of the whole travelling planning.
I always used to get really bad stomach upsets.
Boo to travel jabs.