Thursday, April 19, 2012

Get Active!

First of all, a question was asked on our most recent Conference Call about Rabies vaccinations.    Here is a more educated response from team member Alicia Wilkins who is in nursing.
"They do have rabies vaccinations for humans that you can get to prevent rabies. But if you don’t plan on messing with animals they don’t recommend getting them because they are painful. These vaccinations are optional, not required. "
So the word on our street is a resounding NO, you don not need Rabies vaccinations.  In the rare event that you fall victim to a bite by a wild animal while in country we will follow with the course of treatments recommended immediately.

Now, onto other health matters.
These trips are grueling physically.  The changes in diet, sitting for long hours on airplanes, operating within less sanitary environments than we're accustomed to at home, are all part of the plan for mission work in rural countries.  Prepare your body now!

Begin to build up your immunity by eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables so your body has healthy vitamins and minerals to draw from.

Be sure you are exercising regularly.  These kids we will be ministering to have endless amounts of energy and they expect us to keep up!  This means lots of cardio!

Long plane rides are no fun on your circulatory system.  Begin a healthy lifestyle of drinking lots of water each day now so that your body is properly hydrated!

Reduce your intake of processed foods and sugars, detox stateside so that you do not go into withdrawals in country including headaches and grumpiness!  :)

Bumpy roads and vehicles without good shocks are the standard mode of transportation in Africa!  Driving will be an adventure all on its own!  Get in a little weight bearing exercise for strong bones and stronger muscles to help your body be shock absorbent.

And finally, a little squatty potty humor ladies.  Tell me what you think.. . . It's good for a laugh, but who's willing to try it?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Shots! Shots! Shots!

Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots, such as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.
Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection where exposure might occur through food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can also occur in travelers to developing countries with "standard" tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviors.
Hepatitis B Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission, especially those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident).
Typhoid Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in East Africa, especially if staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water.  Booster needed if more than 2 years since your last dose.
Polio Recommended for adult travelers who have received a primary series with either inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) or oral polio vaccine (OPV). They should receive another dose of IPV before departure. For adults, available data do not indicate the need for more than a single lifetime booster dose with IPV.
Yellow Fever Recommended for all travelers
Vaccination should be given 10 days before travel and at 10-year intervals if there is on-going risk. Find an authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccination clinic.
Meningococcal (meningitis) Recommended if you plan to visit countries that experience epidemics of meningococcal disease during December through June

What does all this really mean?
So here's the short version of all that complicated text above.  You're gonna need to be vaccinated.

It's highly likely that you've had most of the vaccinations listed above, but if you're an older adult, you might just need a booster on some.  You'll need to take the list above to your doctor and make sure you're caught up on all of your routine vacinnations as well as the Hep A&B, Polio Booster if needed, and the Meningitis if you haven't had it yet.  Now, the Typhoid and Yellow Fever vaccines are typically not available with your primary Dr.  You'll most likely need to visit your local County International Travel Clinic for those.  Locate one of those here.

Second, just before we go you'll need to receive a prescription for Malaria preventative medication from your Primary Care Doctor and have it filled and bring it with you.    Our family prefers Malarone (Atovaquone-proguanil) because of the shorter time needed to take it, it's available in dosages for smaller people, and its lack of side effects.  You'll need a Rx for Qty 23 of Malarone.   Malarone is dosed 2 days prior, 14 days during, and 7 days following.   There are other choices that are much cheaper than Malarone, but you'll need to take it for 2 weeks prior, 2 weeks during, and 4 weeks following, which is Qty 56.

A good goal would be to have your vaccines completed by May.  The Yellow Fever is a shot that you might have to call and get on a waiting list for, so plan ahead and do not wait until the last minute.