Category Archives: vaccinations

Visiting a Bullring … Not in Session

Laura drove me to a part of town that I hadn’t visited on foot earlier that day. We had a little bit of daylight left and Laura took us to two historic places.

The first was, in its heyday, an amazing and architecturally amazing bullring called Plaza de Toros Real de San Carlos.

Unfortunately, the Plaza de Toros is no longer in use … as anything.

It is such a shame because if someone had the money to restore it, it would be quite an amazing place/concert venue/museum.

It’s quite run down and if there were safety codes, I’m sure it would fail all of them.

We had ducked under barbed wire and entered through a hole in a rusted gate – thank goodness for the tetanus shot – to enter the land surrounding the bullring. (No photos of this set up, it was only my first day and I was trying not to break any skin!)

As we walked under the stadium seating to enter the center of the bullring, Laura warned us to watch for loose and falling stones.

Along with the warning signs outside of the stadium, when I Googled the stadium later I also learned that  Wikipedia states that it is forbidden to enter the bullring.

It was well worth the risk. It was gorgeous inside and if you can use your imagination to picture this place in all its glory, it must have been incredible.

The center of the ring was full of grass that wasn’t too overgrown – which leads me to believe that someone must be caring for the property. There was also a fair amount of graffiti all over the stadium walls that a good scrubbing should be able to remove.

If it were to be restored, I think that it could be turned into an amazing concert arena. There is no shortage of seating, the stone work is beautiful and the acoustics are stellar.

The first two were easy observations the third I found out when Laura told me to shout ‘Hola, Hola!’

I wish I had an audio recorder!


Relief

That’s how I felt the day I got my last shot.

Oh boy, finally, done!

Well, until I have to go back in six months for the Hepatitis A booster. That’s the only one that requires follow up as it is two jabs given six months apart — but don’t worry, you are fully protected after the first jab.

Hallelujah! Now I have started to research more places where I am protected. Can’t let all these jabs go to waste!


Jabs: Yellow Fever and MMR

Yellow Fever and MMR are live vaccines. I’m not exactly sure what that means other than it’s the live virus which totally freaked me out.
 
If you need both, you can either get them at the same time, or at least 28 days apart for the best efficacy.
 
What I also found out that when you get the MMR vaccine, you can potentially be contagious to unvaccinated people for up to two weeks. Well, two women close to me were pregnant.
 
Being overly cautious, I checked with several nurses and the places where I got vaccinated but I gave a list of all possible vaccines I was going to get, and then some, and made both women check with their OB-GYN to ensure that if I got vaccinated I could be around them, and their unborn children.
 
Both of their OB-GYNs confirmed we were good to go. 
 
Better safe than sorry I say. I’d never forgive myself if I passed on anything from these vaccines to an unborn child.
Again, I am not a medical professional. Please refer to one for any needs relating to your health, vaccinations or unborn children.

Jabs: TDAP and Freak Out

As part of my annual physical, my regular doctor gave me a the Tetanus Diphtheria Pertussis (TDAP) shot. Even though I had a TD shot just four years ago from a pedicure gone wrong, I guess there’s an outbreak of Pertussis in the US and it’s recommended to have the vaccine.

I was slightly, okay, very, nervous before every.single.jab.

I read the CDC VIS (Vaccine Information Statement) for each vaccine, and just before each jab I re-read it so I knew what to expect.

After each jab, I would be very aware of my body to see if something weird happened. After 24 hours passed, I could breathe easy.

I mean, what if they gave me the wrong vaccine? What if something went horribly wrong? What if I moved? What if it was expired?

And for those of you who know me, I asked all of these questions.

In fact, when I was getting the TDAP vaccine I asked my doctor so many questions that he just handed over the label from the TDAP bottle so I could take a look.

Of course when I got to a computer I Googled it and it and I noticed that the logo from the actual vaccine was slightly different from the logo on the pharmaceutical website. So of course I worried for a hot ten minutes that it was a fake.

Who does that?

But, just for the record, the shot that made me feel the worst…TDAP. I was under the weather for over a week. A WEEK!

And it was THE MOST NORMAL JAB TO GET. No problem with Typhoid or Yellow Fever. The TDAP.

It shocked me too.


Jabs: Hep A and Hep B

In this process, I learned a lot about jabs so I wanted to share some additional information that I have learned along the way.

Hep A is a series of two shots. You can travel after the first but you need to get the second six months later.

Hep B is a series of three jabs, and you can travel after you have two, which are given a month apart. The third in that series is also six months later.

You may have had Hep B before entering university and from my research the efficacy can vary after 15 years. Me personally, I found out that I still have immunity to Hep B, so did not need to worry about this series. Which saved me hundreds of dollars.

If you do need both Hep A and Hep B you can get something called Twinrix, which is both shots in one. Same vaccination schedule as Hep B, but you are also getting the immunity to Hep A — with two less jabs. I found it to be a little more expensive but if you hate shots, like me, I think the extra cost would have been well worth it for three jabs versus five (ouch), especially if you are getting a full battery of jabs for your destinations.

Again, I’m not a doctor or a medical professional. I did a ton of research and asked A LOT of questions. But please, see your medical professional for advice for what is best for you and your situation.


CDC and Me – BFF

Oh CDC. You and I have become best friends the past few months.

I know you have so much information it’s scary. I know where I can find your maps pointing out risk areas for various diseases I never heard of. I know you have the most updated VIS (vaccine information statements) for any vaccine I could ever imagine wanting to know anything about.

But if I can just say one thing, your VIS’ scare me just a little. I read the warnings before the jab, and then I’d read it a few hours after the jab to make sure I was still okay and not suffering from any of the possible side effects, no matter how miniscule the odds were.

You can Google CDC VIS [and whatever vaccine you are looking for information on].

Examples of my Google searches: ‘CDC VIS Typhoid’ and ‘CDC VIS Yellow Fever’ and ‘CDC VIS Meningococal’ etc.

Go on, take a look.

What’s the most obscure travel vaccine you’ve ever needed?


Jabs: Overview

I have never traveled anywhere where vaccinations were necessary.

Though now after I have done a boatload of research, I think every traveler should have a Hep A jab. This is only my opinion. I am not a medical professional.

Sorting out my vaccinations and figuring out what’s what caused me the most strife out of anything else in the planning process.
First, shots are not cheap.
Second, I needed a lot of shots.
Third, I switch between calling them shots, vaccinations and jabs. They are all the same thing. I think I like jabs best.
For my actual health consultation, I went to Passport Health. Highly recommend.
The nurse I met with was great and I got a ton of information – like clumping malaria prone countries together so you aren’t taking malaria meds for the better part of your trip. At $11USD per pill this is crucial planning information. Highly recommend.
Key takeaways:
1 – Shop around for the best price. Prices for the same vaccines can vary, sometimes by $40.
2 – Start the process well in advance of your departure date, at least six weeks prior.
Some jabs (Hep A, Hep B) are in a series and you need two jabs a month apart for Hep B before you travel. Others are live vaccines (Yellow Fever, MMR) which can either be given together or at least 28 days apart.
Also, you don’t want your last jab to be given as you are running to the airport as some jabs take two weeks for full efficacy.
 3 – Some of the vaccinations are specific to the region of a country, so you might not necessarily need certain ones.
4 – You can’t drink alcohol for 24 hours after each jab so you must plan accordingly.
5 – CDC.gov/travel had so many hits on their website thanks to me.
6 – I am a wimp.

FAQs: Vaccinations, Jabs and Shots

FAQ: Did you have to get vaccinated?

Yeppers. Jabs were the bane of my existence for quite a few weeks and I have enough information from my vaccine research for several future blog posts.

Note: I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on tv. My research was specific to my needs and destinations. You should speak to your doctor regarding your own travel plans.

FAQ: What kind of shots did you get?

Me personally? I got jabs for Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis (TDAP), Meningoccoal and Hepatitis A. Again, please check with your doctor for your needs. I found out I still had immunity to MMR and Hepatitis B so I did not need to get those.

FAQ: Did you feel okay after the shots?

The only one that made me feel badly for a few days was the TDAP. I was achy, tired and sniffly for a few days. Surprising to me, that was the one I was least worried about — it was the most ‘normal’ jab to get. It was the only one insurance covered.

Also, some vaccines cannot be administered if you are not feeling well. I put off getting my meningococcal jab for a week because the TDAP had had me feeling under the weather.

FAQ: Were the jabs expensive?

They can be. You should definitely compare prices because it can get very pricey.
I called my insurance company only to find out that they don’t pay for travel vaccines. But, they told me I could get jabs priced at cost at my job. Score!
I got several jabs at work, at cost. I got one at the doctor, which insurance covered. And I got one at Passport Health because it was a few dollars cheaper than at work.
I also found out that you can go to the local health department in your town for free, or very low-cost vaccinations.
Shop around!
FAQ: Didn’t you have shots before you went to college?
Yes. And I even called the school to get those medical records. Unfortunately they only keep records for ten years. I missed the boat on that one. Oops.
So I had my mom dig up my vaccination history. A mother’s dream.
If you can’t get your records, you can get titers (bloodwork) that test for antibodies in your system for shots you have had as a baby or adolescent to see if you are still immune. Check with your insurance carrier because some of those titers are hundreds of dollars, more than the cost of the actual vaccine.

FAQ: How many jabs did you get at a time?

Because I am a big baby, and was overly concerned about side effects and arm pain, I only wanted to get one jab at a time, so the process took me some time to get through.
Again, I am not a doctor, just sharing my experience. Seek specific medical advice that relates to your own travel needs.
More on my vaccination experience to come…