Monday, September 22, 2008

Travel: Travel Shots for Brazil

We bought our tickets to travel to Brazil five months before our trip. This meant a great deal on our travel ticket price but it didn’t leave enough room for weather changes like Hurricane Ike hitting at the same time as we were connecting travel through Houston to San Francisco.

The scene: I had just settled into my airplane chair. (It takes me forever to find a comfortable position as my tray table always hits my knee, my eye mask falls off my face and someone seems to always bump my arm as they are walking down the aisle.) I was just starting to fall asleep when over the loud speaker the pilot said “Sorry ladies and gentlemen for the turbulence and the extra hour we are adding to our 9 hour flight from Sao Paulo Brazil to Houston. We have decided to fly over the hurricane. “

“What hurricane?” I asked in my slumber state.
I digress. Five months before our travel trip, I started asking everyone I knew about tips and tricks for travel to Brazil. I found out that I had some family members that had just traveled to Brazil. The main difference in our travel experiences is that they live in Canada. So I asked them.

me “Did you get travel shots?”

them “ No of course not. Other then a tetanus shot why would you need shots?”

me ” Well my doctor suggested that I get 4 different kinds of shots and to take/buy a bunch of antibiotics for just in case.”

them” Really wow. We spent 3 weeks in Brazil and our Canadian doctor didn’t suggest any more shots. You might want to check with your doctor.”

Which I did. “Doc, do I really need shots for typhoid, yellow fever, Hep A and B, tetanus, pills for travelers diarrhea etc.

doctor “Yes, you should to be on the careful side.”

me “But I called my PPO health insurance and they said they only cover travelers shots if you are traveling out of the country on business not on pleasure.”
(What is wrong with America’s health insurance?)

“Oh” said doc “in that case then I will send you to the City Shots Clinic and it will be cheaper for you there.”

My immediate thought of a city shots clinic was of a dark, scary, dusty and of homeless people walking in front of the clinic. I was pleasantly proven wrong. The City Shots clinic was a friendly, clean, bright office that was highly organized.

After meeting with my travel nurse, she suggested that I get about 8 different shots even though I wasn’t even traveling to the Amazon. Each shot cost around $80. My favorite was when she suggested two shots for my travel by asking if I was thinking about getting a tattoo or if I was an adventurous eater. She also reminded me to be careful of bats and rabies. Paranoid much? Can you say cha ching $$$ to the city!

I asked said Travel Nurse, let’s call her Nurse Betty, if one week was enough time for me to get my shots as I was traveling to South America next week. Nurse Betty "I would want people to get their shots even if there were sitting in the super shuttle on the way to the airport."

I walked out of there with just two shots I thought I would need. Hep A and Tetanus. My arms were burning from the sensation of having two shots into my muscle, but I was proud for going.

I think it was about a week into my travel trip to Brazil, that I realized how paranoid I was made to feel about getting shots. Knock on wood, nothing happened. And, surprisingly, a bat never flew out while I was sleeping to attack me full of rabies.

Next Travel Post Missing the Hurricane….

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