RTW Staying Healthy: Vaccines & Medications

How many shots does it take to travel half-way around the world?

Vaccinations Before & After Shots

About six for Gerard. Umm.. seven for me if you include my flu nasal spray. But I guess that’s not really a shot. Still 🙁 for sure.

If you know us, you know we’re prone to getting sick while traveling. It almost never fails. So for an extended trip like this, we are getting more than the recommended doses including medications and more.

Shots. Ugh. I’ve never been a good patient. I hate needles and tend to pout and whine my way through appointments. This visit was no different.

Probably the only upside to all of this — health insurance — and thank goodness for that! People, use them while you still got them. While Gerard took it to the Travel Clinic, I made a visit to my local Kaiser Permanente. How did we fare out? Let’s compare.

Vaccination

Cost for Vaccinations Price Comparison

Ok, never before have I been so grateful for health insurance than on this very day when Nurse M decides to repeatedly pinch my good arm, my writing arm, with what felt like a million pricks. I actually split up my visit into two because I didn’t want to get any more shots. Didn’t even have to pay another copay.

On a side note, why the hell does an MMR shot hurt so much? My arm was sore for days.

A note, Usual & Customary is priced by AITC, a non-profit, fee-for-service clinic that is part of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Medication

prescription

Following the prick fest, Nurse M gave me a list of medications to pick up at the Pharmacy. I had a list of my own from my primary Physician with my usual medications — inhaler for my asthma and birth control.

Malaria pills – We only need enough to get us through India. The problem is figuring out how long we will be staying which will dictate how many pills we will need. Malarone was suggested since it was the only brand available at Kaiser (and has the least side effects). Gerard was quoted a whopping $7 per pill! My entire months worth of pills cost a total of $70, about $2.33 each. A month later, a generic version of Malarone came out. For the same amount of pills, the cost is a copay of $20.

Birth control – I tried everything to ask my Doctor to approve for an advance in my pills. No dice. At the most Kaiser will only allow up to 3 months advance and the rest is private usual and customary fees, nearly triple the price. Fail.

Medication - Prescription Cost of Medication

over the counter

I’m no stranger to the nearby Pharmacy. However, I couldn’t pass up a good deal so for the first time ever, I ordered all our meds through drugstore.com.

  • Tylenol Extra Strength/Advil
  • DayQuil/NyQuil
  • Benadryl
  • Imodium A-D
  • Multi-Vitamin
  • Echinacea
  • Zyrtec
  • Salonpas/Tiger balm – because it’s on sale.. and because I’m Asian!

No liquids. Carry-on luggage only remember.

Phew. I get the sense we’re packing more drugs than clothes. And since I’m carrying all toiletry and medications, that doesn’t leave me much room does it? Oh well, I’ll be like Doctor Q, medicine woman. Quite literally.

What about you. What vaccines and medications did you get in preparation for extended travel? 

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  • Tinmai

    !!! i got a hep shot before movin to VN. nonedat japanese enciphiwhatever or anything else. and no meds. living on the dangerous side, yo.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      oOooo… totally living on the edge Tin. Lol. You’ve been to Japan?

  • Tinmai

    !!! i got a hep shot before movin to VN. nonedat japanese enciphiwhatever or anything else. and no meds. living on the dangerous side, yo.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      oOooo… totally living on the edge Tin. Lol. You’ve been to Japan?

  • http://twitter.com/houseofannie Nathan Lau

    Actually, no shots for me. The kids got their normal boosters but that’s it.

    As for birth control, well you guys should be able to find condoms pretty easily in most major cities and towns.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha. More like it keeps me on a regular cycle. Lol. But good to know. *wink*

  • Gophur

    Actually, no shots for me. The kids got their normal boosters but that’s it.

    As for birth control, well you guys should be able to find condoms pretty easily in most major cities and towns.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha. More like it keeps me on a regular cycle. Lol. But good to know. *wink*

  • Anh

    Anti itch cream, Dramamine, pepto, Alka seltzer. As for advanced bc –> planned parenthood 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Definitely LOTS of anti-itch. The bugs LOVE Gerard. Haha. And oOo I forgot about PP. Good call.

  • Anh

    Anti itch cream, Dramamine, pepto, Alka seltzer. As for advanced bc –> planned parenthood 🙂

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Definitely LOTS of anti-itch. The bugs LOVE Gerard. Haha. And oOo I forgot about PP. Good call.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kstanphill Ken Stanphill

    I would put in a bottle of Pepto Bismol I thought I was going to die in the Philippines

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Good thing I’ve grown up eating a good amount of Filipino food growing up. We heard Pepto Bismol is a must in India as well!

  • Ken Stanphill

    I would put in a bottle of Pepto Bismol I thought I was going to die in the Philippines

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Good thing I’ve grown up eating a good amount of Filipino food growing up. We heard Pepto Bismol is a must in India as well!

  • http://www.solojunket.com Wayne – Solo Junket

    Well at least you didn’t need Yellow fever vaccination I guess. I was told there was a ‘small’ chance that my internal organs would shutdown. Very reassuring!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Holy crap. That’s what they told you?! Lol.. Reassuring indeed. No yellow fever for us yet. Though I see it in our near future. =P

  • http://www.solojunket.com Wayne – Solo Junket

    Well at least you didn’t need Yellow fever vaccination I guess. I was told there was a ‘small’ chance that my internal organs would shutdown. Very reassuring!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Holy crap. That’s what they told you?! Lol.. Reassuring indeed. No yellow fever for us yet. Though I see it in our near future. =P

  • http://www.theshirtoffmybackpack.com Scott

    Leaving on my RTW on 2/7, and have actually decided that I am not going to get any shots here in the states, and just figure it out when I arrive somewhere I need them … we will see how this ends up.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Hey Scott! Yea.. quite a few have rec getting shots abroad so I think you’ll be ok. Just thought I’d max out my insurance while I have it. 😉 Where are you heading?

  • http://www.theshirtoffmybackpack.com Scott

    Leaving on my RTW on 2/7, and have actually decided that I am not going to get any shots here in the states, and just figure it out when I arrive somewhere I need them … we will see how this ends up.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Hey Scott! Yea.. quite a few have rec getting shots abroad so I think you’ll be ok. Just thought I’d max out my insurance while I have it. 😉 Where are you heading?

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