We'll be traveling to some pretty interesting places around the world. In most cases, this means developing third world countries. So we really need to be in good health with proper immunizations to make sure we minimize our health risks while abroad.
Post-Trip Update: We stayed very healthy for our entire year on the road. All that walking and the healthy diets of most non-Western countries helped keep us in shape. We didn't get sick very often, and when we did, it was the usual cold or stomach bug, which is to be expected when jumping around to so many different places. The only exceptions were:
* The nasty case of strep throat which Mike got (get this) only 2 weeks into the trip, while we were in the dry desert area of eastern Morocco. It was uncomfortable, but nothing a 3-day course of antibiotics didn't wipe out.
* The nasty stomach bugs both of us caught on a couple of occasions. Jen got sick in Morocco (that made two of us), Mike did while on safari in the middle of nowhere in Botswana (now that was inconvenient) and again in Luang Prabang, Laos. And while none of these cases were serious, we sure felt like they were at the time. A lot of rest and a plain diet of steamed rice and water helped us return to normal in every case.
* The dental work Mike needed in South Africa. A filling started falling out while we were in Turkey. By the time we reached Cape Town, we knew it was time to get it fixed. Thankfully, the doctors in South Africa are every bit as good as they are back home. During my dental check-up back home 9 months after I got the filling replaced, and my regular dentist says it looks just fine. Moral to the story: If you're traveling in Africa and you need a doctor or a dentist, make sure it happens in South Africa. You'll be fine there.
Our first step on the road to preventative maintenance was to consult a travel doctor. We can't stress enough the importance of seeing a dedicated travel doctor versus a general practitioner or family doctor for travel health. Travel doctors are better aware of the unique issues related to travel health, and will recommend inoculations and prescriptions based on where you'll be traveling. Our doctor provided us with the following:
* Hepatitis A (requires two boosters, six months apart)
* Typhoid (we got the oral vaccine, one less shot to get!)
* Tetanus (everybody should have this every 10 years anyway)
* Meningoccocol Meningitis
* Polio (most people don't realize there is an adult booster)
* Mefloquine (anti-malarial, for risk areas)
* Antibiotics, amoxicillin and doxycycline (for infections)
* Ciprofloxacin (for severe stomach issues)
* Ibuprofen (industrial strength!)
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