Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A very expensive drug addiction!

So for those of you who've ever travelled to exotic climes, you would know that with a round-the-world trip comes a lot of jabs. Those of you who haven't, here's my advice: There are a lot of jabs and it is expensive!

I wanted to get ahead early so I have had my doctors appointments to plan my trip and what may be needed, I have one more to go to get my Hep B Booster and I have visited the private travel clinic more times than I'd have liked. But as they say, what's a few injections over your health, and maybe even life?

Some advice to anyone who's ever going to do a route like mine, or an around the world trip, is get started early and make sure you have the cash you need in advance - start saving a few months before you plan on booking them! Mine is probably going to total around £5-600. There is no point booking them if you aren't aware of how much you will need to fork out, because, I'm not going to lie, it will always be a shock every time you hand over your card for each jab, even if you have the money available!

The first thing is to book your consultation with your doctor/nurse first, they can tell you what you are up-to-date with and what they can provide at the surgery (which normally isn't much). They'll also probably be cheaper to get any boosters or Hep A's and B's with as a private clinic will charge almost double the price for these. When you are there, make sure you request a print-out of your vaccination history, as this is needed at the travel clinic.

The next thing is making a booking with a travel clinic, make sure you shop around as some offer better prices than others, and may be nearer to you to avoid all the travel costs associated with going to and from it several times (as most jabs are more than one dose). This is also when you start to realise how much it is all going to cost. Expect to have your first set of jabs at the consultation, otherwise most places will also charge a consultation fee if you don't fork out for a jab until later.

I was told for my route that I would need the below:
- Hep A + Typhoid (course of two jabs, free on the NHS for me) for India/S.E Asia/Malaysia.
- Hep B (course of 3 jabs, I had these on the NHS and a booster at £25, all depends on how quickly you need them as to what course you need) for India/S.E Asia/Malaysia.
- Japanese B Encephalitis (Course of 2 jabs, 0 days and 28 days, at around £88 per dose) for India, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
- Rabies (course of 3 jabs, 0 days, 7 days and 28 days, at £55 per dose, then if you get it while abroad, a further 2 doses and a blood transfusion) mainly for Bali as they don't stock the haemoglobin or injections, so gives you more time to fly out, and also for India, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam.
- A course of anti-malarials - I was told for the length of time I would be in Malaria-risk countries to get the cheaper drug - Doxycycline - I have to take this for the length of time I'm in each Malaria risk country plus 28 days after leaving them. It was actually cheaper to pay for the prescription charge (£12) and get these with the Doctors surgery/pharmacy (£30 for 7-8 months worth of tablets), whereas the health clinic was charging £200! So definitely make sure you check out where it's cheaper before just going for the easiest option. For mid-India and Goa, Thai borders, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, not needed in coastal areas of Malaysia or Singapore, Bali - unless going to Lombok.
- Cholera (course of two doses at £40 each, via the mouth) for India. Rather than skip this, I was advised to have it if you can afford to, as not only does it prevent you from getting Cholera which is rife in places like India and S.America, it also prevents you from getting Travellers Diarrhoea and helps lesson the symptoms of things like Delhi Belly, for the first 3 months after you've had it (so don't take it until the last 2 weeks before you leave). Same goes for the Malaria tablets I'm taking (Doxycycline), this helps treat all sorts of infections, including acne, travellers Diarrhoea, STD's, Urinary infections etc, so you'll be major covered! 

Yellow Fever is needed for South America, but I'll have this nearer the time. I was told that each jab gave immunity for up to 2 years, so don't be fooled into thinking if you've had one before, you won't need one again!

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