This is really happening

If you aren’t tired of hearing about my upcoming Kenya trip, keep reading.

I leave for Kenya on July 11 so as I’m writing this, it is approximately 100 days until Departure Day. Needless to say, I’m excited.

I tackled one of the big prep items recently: a visit to an infectious disease specialist, aka a Travel Doc. Travel to a country like Kenya requires shots and medications. Actually, only one shot is required for my trip: yellow fever. Interestingly, the yellow fever vaccine isn’t required for going to Kenya, but returning to the United States.

The average internist or general practitioner does not keep the shots travelers need on-hand, and also isn’t familiar with the protocol and paperwork required for travel to some international destinations.

Me being me, which is to say prone to catching every illness within a 25 mile radius, I opted to get shots and boosters considered recommended but optional: polio booster, Tdap booster (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) and hepatitis A vaccine.

I got a total of four shots, all in the same spot on my left arm. Shots generally are no big deal for me but I can’t deny that these hurt. I knew from past experience that the tetanus shot would leave my arm aching for a few days and was warned that I might feel “off” from the yellow fever vaccine which contains weakened but live virus. Sure enough, I was under the weather the next day.

The doctor also gave me prescriptions I need for the trip: malarone to prevent malaria, and a typhoid vaccine that is in pill form. I’ll be taking the daily anti-malaria drugs because there’s a rare but serious side effect of the weekly form: psychosis. Can you imagine?

The one prescription I did not get from the infectious disease specialist? Cipro. I’m allergic to one of its components so if I get sick while I’m in Kenya, I’m effectively on my own. While I’m a bit nervous about that, there’s nothing I can do about it. The doctor said that the antibiotics I can take – omnicef and amoxicillin for example – would not be effective.

Wish me luck.

Cost tally:

  • Yellow fever shot: $120
  • Other shots: TBD
  • Malarone prescription: $10
  • Typhoid vaccine (pill form): $86.69 at Duane Reade
  • Doctor copay: $45

Note: costs may vary based on insurance providers. I still may get a bill for the other shots. The doctor told me upfront that the yellow fever vaccine isn’t covered but others may be and were submitted.

9 thoughts on “This is really happening

  1. Paul

    That’s so exciting OC! It must be starting to feel real now. It’s sad that you’re allergic to cipro – as a dialysis patient I sometimes get infections and cipro is my favoite – it works amazing on me. But you’ll be fine, I’m sure. I’ve seen a non-prescription (I think) medication advertized lately that fights against water borne bugs that cause diharrea – is that useful in Kenya?

    I went to China a few years ago on business with a team, and although it’s pretty safe health-wise there, they recommend a few shots incudling HepA and B. One of our team menbers was an accountant who hated odds and wanted to be 100% safe (not that that is ever possible but she tried) so she also got a Hep C shot. We teased her unmercifully when we found out, as Hep C can only be contracted by sharing needles or having sex. We often asked her during the trip if she was shooting up or having local visitors at night. In retrospect, she likely regretted telling us. Everyone returned without medical incident.

    Have a great trip whem July rolls around!


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