Immunizations: What do I need for Africa?

Are You Up-To-Date On All Your Vaccinations?

Make sure you do your research!

What vaccinations I need for my trip to Africa

Traveling to foreign countries takes a little prep. For me, the most important thing I did was to find out which vaccinations I needed for my family.

The CDC informs who needs what where, but there’s more to it than that.

Since my 9 year old daughter is also coming, this was the very first thing I did once we booked our flight! I called her pediatrician first. After she did her research, I was told that my daughter didn’t need anything! “Really?” I asked, “Yes, really, she’s good to go.” I was told by the front desk lady. Thanks goodness I didn’t believe that!

I started to do my own research only to find out that she needed Hepatitis A (she already had hepatitis B), typhoid, a malaria prophylactic and cholera pills. I called back with this information and the assistant said “Yes, she COULD take this stuff, but doesn’t need it. But it would be a good idea to get them, who wants to get malaria?” What? Are you kidding me? I thought.

The doctor knew we were going to Kruger – a malaria risk – but as long as you’re not bringing anything INTO the country, the governments don’t care. Unfortunately for us, neither did our pediatrician. Sounds like we need a need a new one!

She may have thought I was only interested in finding out that what the gov’t requires. If you’re coming from certain areas, you may need to get more, such as Yellow Fever.

So, please, whatever you do, do your own research because some doctors just don’t offer it, even though it would be best for the patient. sigh…

The Vaccinations I Need

I myself needed both Hepatitis A & B, typhoid, a malaria prophylactic and cholera pills. I will also take charcoal pills just in case my digestive system does me wrong. I’m also taking airborne to handle the germy air on the flights. I always get a sinus infection after an international flight if I don’t take that amazing vitamin boost!

I’m a bit earthy crunchy and want to stay healthy, meaning, I do not like putting chemicals on my body. But I’ll be damned if I’m not going to take the strongest mosquito protection out there because a prophylactic is not 100% ! We suggest to get insect repellant that contains at least 20-30% DEET. I’ll make sure what I get is OK for my 9 year old daughter. Keep in mind, Not all insect repellents with deet are child-safe!

And I will not forget my really strong sun block and UV-protected sunglasses either! Although it’s winter over there now, the sun is still bright!

Ask Your Pharmacist

As if the doctor’s lack of advice wasn’t annoying enough, get this: When I went to pick up my daughter’s typhoid pills, the pharmacists told me to keep it in the fridge, not in the back against the coldest spot, but on a shelf or in the door. I almost fell over! I picked up my own typhoid tabs 2 weeks earlier, the exact same ones, from another pharmacy, and wasn’t told that, so I didn’t think anything of it and put the tabs on my desk! Of course I could have been smart and read the fine print, but I didn’t think pills needed to be chilled…

I asked what would happen if I still took them and the informative pharmacist said, “Well, they may not have any effect anymore”. So I got another prescription from my doctor and bought another package! 35 eur and time wasted.

So, 2 more tips: ask your pharmacist how to take your medication and ALWAYS read the packaging! One thing I didn’t mess up was to take my typhoid tabs at least 10 days BEFORE I start taking the malaria tabs…

Write it in your Calendar

And don’t forget to write the times you need to take what on your calendar! It can be a bit overwhelming of what to take when and how in our multi-tasking world, so WRITE IT DOWN!

Also, vaccinations aren’t cheap, so ask your health insurance provider what they will cover and make sure you plan them as part of your travel expenses.

On the upside though, once you’re vaccinated, you’re safe for another 10 years or for life, depending on what it is, so you can travel at a lower cost the next time. Woot!

Do your own research when it comes to your health, ask your pharmacist how to take the vaccinations and ALWAYS read the packaging!

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About the Author
Jessica Lohmann is a Content Marketing Strategist. She's responsible for web content and is the one you're engaging with on Safari With Us's social channels. She's a native US American, born and raised in New York, but has been living in Germany for - well - decades. She stopped counting. She envisions a world where every animal is treated with respect and went to great lengths to work with Safari With Us because she wants to promote sustainable tourism and spread awareness about the plight of African wildlife.

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