Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Medical Preparations

After long searches for all the required data, we have summarized our understanding of the suggested medical preparation. Don't consider the superficial details given bellow as any medical advice, as we are not qualified to give medical advices. You should get more certified information on this most important aspect of preparation for any trip, and you must consult a physician (medical doctor) who is a specialist for infectious diseases, to get a professional opinion on your specific medical needs for this kind of trip.

You must plan at least 1 month for the vaccination period. The minimal list of vaccines for a long trip throughout S-A is the following:
   * Yellow Fever - lasts for life, 1 shot, mandatory for entrance to some countries in the continent
   * Rabies - lasts for life but a booster dose is highly recommended before a long trip and if bitten by an animal you must anyway get a series of active vaccines within a week period, 3 shots: the 2nd after 1 week, and the 3rd 2 weeks after the 2nd,
   * Hepatitis A - lasts for life, 2 shots, the 2nd after between 6 and 12 months (you can do it after you return from your trip)
   * Hepatitis B - lasts for life, 3 shots, the 2nd after 1 month and the 3rd between 6 and 12 months after (you can do it after returning from your trip)
   * Typhoid Fever - lasts for 3 years, 1 shot
   * Tetanus - the series lasts for life but for it to work well a booster dose must be given every 10 years

International Certificate of Vaccinations

Don´t forget to take this important document with you, because you must present it in the entrance to some countries.

Pharmacy Kit
Malaria is endemic to the central northern part of S-A, and in general in every densely populated area below the altitude of 2,000 m. You should search specific areas you plan to visit in the detailed map here, and if necessarily buy the expensive pills needed for treatment, as this is a deadly disease. Our usual medicine kit, for any long trip where pharmacies are not available, contains the following:
   * Medical Pills - malaria (prevention and treatment), antibiotics (2 different types), diarrhea, stomach ache, allergy, painkiller
   * Medical Ointments and Creams - antibiotics for eyes (also used externally for the entire body), antibiotics + analgesic for gums, skin fungus infections, rash/butt cream, analgesic heat rub for muscles, solar lipstick, regular lipstick, sunscreen, aloe-vera
   * Nutritional Supplements - for vegans like us the following are a must: vitamin B12, iron, folic-acid, calcium + vitamin D

First Aid Kit
This is a different kit that is physically separated from the other pharmaceuticals. This is because in a real emergency situation you would have to take it out and find life saving utilities in a matter of seconds. The basic First Aid Kit we take for any trip contains the following:
   * Bandaging - sterile gauzes, paper scotch tape, strong plastic or fabric scotch tape, cotton wool, medical iodine
   * Emergency Devices - whistles, stick light

and the the two kits looks like this:

Medical Care

Bath Kit
The bath kit can be very heavy so you should buy most of it in the actual destination of your trip. Some things you should anyway prepare ahead because it can be difficult/expensive/impossible to find them where you plan to travel. The following is our bath kit for this trip:
   * From Home: a few rolls of toilette paper, tooth brushes, sewing string and a needle, razors, ear plugs, eye covers, small sealing bottles for soap and for shampoo.
   * Supplement for Woman: tampons/hygienic-bandages, pregnancy prevention
   * Supplement for Man: shaving cream

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