The world is a big place with a lot of disease. Many diseases and infections that are very rare in the US kill thousands or millions in other countries. This post is dedicated to some of those diseases.
A few weeks ago we went to the doctor to get all of our shots up-to-date. The first thing to know is that almost no insurance covers travel shots, so schedule a visit as part of an annual check-up or say that you have a runny nose. Anything that will allow your doctor to bill the visit so that you don't have to pay. We learned this the hard way. The second is that almost no insurance covers most of the shots you need. Nothing you can do about that. Some doctors will have the vaccines in stock and others will need to order them or have you pick them up at the drug store.
Here's the list of major vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Measles/Mumps/Rubella, Meningitis, Polio, Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (TDaP), Varicella (Chickenpox), Typhoid, and Yellow Fever.
Tara and I did typhoid shots last year for another trip, so we were covered for that. Almost all Americans have MMR when they are children. (If you are a parent reading this, please, please have your child vaccinated. It may save your child's life.) Tara and I both had Chickenpox, so we're covered. Most children these days get that shot as a child, though. We also both had Meningitis shots during a college meningitis outbreak. Tara had her Hep A/B series long ago, but I did mine. It was about $200 for the series. We both had yellow fever at about $100/person. My tetanus booster is up-to-date, but Tara had one. As an added plus, it comes with diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) boosters, so now I won't have to listen to Tara whoop. That one was about $130.
In addition to vaccines, we're going to spend a lot of time in malaria zones. My insurance amazingly pays for malarone, the drug of choice to take while in malaria zones. It is really expensive, so our doctor suggested filling what insurance would pay for (60 days supply) and buying the rest while traveling. So, that's what we're going to try.
He also prescribed us what might best be described as super-bacitracin to put on any cuts or injuries to stop bacterial infection. Lastly, he gave us a cipro prescription as a broad-spectrum antibiotic if we fall ill.
We have the following over-the-counter medications/supplies: pain relievers (an assortment), anti-diarrheals, Tylenol cold (both nighttime and daytime), lots of dramamine (for motion sickness/anti-naseau), benadryl, cortizone, bacitracin, cough suppressant, lots of bandaids, and sunscreen.
That's just about it. Hopefully enough to keep us healthy, though we'll no doubt get additional medicine on the road as needed.