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Some preparation

A few sensible things, lots of pills and a couple band-aids

-17 °C

At 36 and 34, we had to be perhaps more careful than the average backpacker about preparing for a variety of medical scenarios across the globe. Lloyd is carrying more injury history than a professional boxer and I have an authentic set of British teeth that is simply guaranteed to cause some trouble along the way. (Lloyd says my teeth are like a house in America (framed and made of wood): they look fantastic on the outside, but the foundations are paper thin and crumbling).

Travel insurance was easy to track down. Our policy with worldnomads.com cost $477 for the six months, and covers (among other things):
- Emergency medical and dental care up to $50,000 each
- Emergence medical evacuation up to $500,000 each
- Baggage loss up to $2,500 each

In short, the intention is that this would take care of immediate issues no matter where we are, and will get us back home if needed.

But being unemployed, we realized that even if the travel insurance policy got us home, we wouldn’t actually be covered once we got there! This took a bit longer to figure out. We wanted to be covered in the US, but didn’t want to pay the massive - and I mean MASSIVE - premiums associated with COBRA given that we weren’t even going to be in the country for the period in question.

I finally came across www.healthnet.com which offers temporary – up to 6 months – ‘catastrophic’ coverage. Basically, if we were to seek the services of a physician in the US we would need to pay a hefty co-payment, but we are covered for up to $2 million after the again relatively hefty deductible of $5,000. I figured that if we get to the stage of worrying about the $5,000 deductible then we already have bigger problems.

On a day-to-day basis, we consulted a travel physician (www.wellontheroad.com) who advised us on vaccinations and on medications to carry around the globe. Based on his advice, we were stabbed multiple times over a period of six weeks to protect against Japanese Encephalitis (three shots, each two weeks apart) and Yellow Fever (one shot), and to ensure we were up to date with our Tetanus shots. Lloyd also had to take a course of tablets to protect against Typhoid, something I had already done in preparation for my 2005 India trip.

In case you’re wondering, Lloyd and I both already had Hepatitis A inoculations. And we decided against the rabies vaccine as - unlike Japanese Encephalitis - treatments for rabies are available and effective if initiated promptly.

The vaccinations came at a higher price than just our achy arms. Japanese Encephalitis was quite pricey and – as a result – our total bill was about $2,000. $2,000! And we hadn’t even got close to leaving the country yet…..

The cost of Malaria medication was the next big shocker. Based on www.cdc.gov advice, we estimated we needed about 60 days worth (exposure was actually surprisingly limited, but you need to take a full 7 days of tablets when you leave each area). At $4 a tablet, it’s a pricey business, but again something we decided not to scrimp on.

OK, if you’re still reading (and Lloyd is convinced that I’ve now bored you to death), then you’ll probably be interested in a complete list of what I’m carrying in our medical kit. The list includes prescription and non-prescription items. Here's the actual kit:


General First Aid
- Claritin-D (for Lloyd’s allergies)
- Sudafed (for Lloyd’s sinuses and for diving)
- Aleve (naproxen sodium: for Lloyd’s arthritis and general aches and pains)
- Bayer (aspirin: for Lloyd’s headaches)
- Hydrocortisone Cream (for Lloyd’s psoriasis)
- Carmex (for Lloyd’s chapped lips . . . are we noticing a trend here . . . ?)
- Benadryl Cream (topical antihistamine)
- Wal-dryl Allergy Tablets (antihistamine)
- Sleep Aids (in unmarked white container)
- Neosporin (antibiotic cream)
- Anti-Diarrheal Tablets (it’s going to happen, it’s just a question of when…..)
- Rehydration Salts
- Laxative Tablets
- Bonjela (for mouth ulcers)
- Orajel Advanced Tooth Desensitizer (Jacquie has British Teeth after all)
- Scissors
- Tweezers
- Thermometer
- Assortment of plasters and moleskin
- Burn jells
- OFF, 15% DEET (insect repellant)
- SteriKit (sterile syringes etc for emergency medical treatment)

Prescription Medication
- Malarone (atovaquone and proguanil) for malaria – 60 tablets each!
- Amoxicillin 500MG capsults (general purpose antibiotic) – 30 tablets each, 3 tablets each day for 10 days
- Ciprofloxacin 500MG (for severe traveller’s diarrhea) – 12 tablets each, 2 tablets each day for 3 days
- Acetazolamide 125MG (for prevention of altitude sickness) – 12 tablets each, 2 tablets each day
- Scopolamine Patches (for Jacquie’s motion sickness on dive boat!) – 12 patches, each lasts three days

Posted by jacquiedro 01:40 Archived in USA Tagged preparation

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