Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Injection time!

Well it seems the waiting is almost over. I'm getting down to the final stages of my preparations. I've never met anyone who enjoys needles and despite having to stick them into myself four times daily, nor do I. So it was with trepidation that I made my appointment to visit the Doctor and get my vaccinations organised. Vaccination clinics do exist but I didn't find they offer a better, more informed service than most regular GPs and mine had all the necessary vaccines and advice for travel.


Because of where I'm going I need Rabies, Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid vaccinations. Malaria protection will be by pill and because India recently celebrated no reported cases of Polio within the past twelve months the doctor and I decided it would be safe to dismiss that one. Tetanus would be another disease to be protected against but I had a booster earlier this year when a tree stump tried to tear my little finger off.

While not wishing to get too involved in the medical details, the following is a brief overview of the vaccines I've had, it may prove interesting to other travellers of Asia and South East Asia.

Rabies is a serious viral disease that spreads from animals to humans. Infected animals can spread the disease to people through their saliva if contact breaks the skin. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. Vaccine is administered with two injections 1 week apart.

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus, the most common way to catch hepatitis A is by consuming water or food contaminated with the virus, or through direct contact with an infected person. Hepatitis B is a serious and potentially life threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus, the virus is spread through contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected person. It is common to pick up hepatitis B through visits to clinics and hospitals in the poorer countries. The doses of A & B vaccine are given 1 month apart and then another five months later, meaning I will have the final injection while travelling. I chose to have the TwinRix vaccines which are administered together.

Typhoid is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. It can be contracted by consuming water or food contaminated by the bacteria. Adults tend to experience constipation and if the disease takes hold it can lead to serious complications such as bleeding in the gut, worsening fever, slow heart rate and swelling of the liver and spleen. The Typhoid vaccine is administered with one injection.

The injections are not at all painful, some may experience muscle aches or upper arm pain within the first 24 hours but nothing to get concerned about. To date I've had one of the TwinRix injections for Hepatitis A & B, I've had both Rabies and the single Typhoid injection. I now feel almost ready to take on the world!

Better safe than sorry...


Dr.User said...

I realize all this sounds much worse than it is, but to most here in the U.S., that rarely travel, it must be horrendous thought reading your description of what those diseases and the damage they cause. I’ve had be inoculated for trips in the past but I had not had to take the malaria pill, any side effects to that one? Seems like you have everything ready to go!

David Brookes said...

I agree with everything you're said. Living in a relatively safe environment does give a person a certain sense of immunity. But the reality is that these diseases do exist and it is very wise to get protection. I don't know what side effects I may have, if any, to the Malaria pill... but there are alternatives available should I get any. : )