In preparation for my upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic, I went to the Travel Clinic to see what sort of delightful diseases I might come into contact with in the DR. I came away from the appointment with:
- hepatitis A vaccination – since I haven’t done much traveling, I’ve not been in the position to get this one before. This shot isn’t covered by public funding1, so I had to pay $65 for this one and will have to go back in a year (I think) for the second shot (another $45)2.
- polio vaccination – apparently there have been cases of polio in Haiti, so this vaccination is offered to people going to the DR. And it’s free! 3.
- ciprofloxacin – an antibiotic to use in the case of travellers’ diarrhea
- chloroquine phosphate – an antimalarial drug. This drug has to be taken once a week, starting the week before the trip, continuing for the duration of the trip and for four weeks after your return. The travel clinic doctor suggesting starting my regimen today, which will make it easier to remember to take my pills on “Malaria Mondays”! 4.
In addition, there are recommendations about not using the tap water, even to brush your teeth and even if the resort says the water is purified, and to use DEET-containing mosquito repellent (even with the antimalarials, it’s still better not to get bitten by the mosquitoes, especially given that dengue virus, which is also passed on by mosquitoes and for which there isn’t a vaccination or drug to prevent it, is also a possibility in the DR).
Upon telling my mother about all this, she thinks we are crazy for going on this trip! But I’m thinking a relaxing week on the beach will make it all worth while!
- With the exception of, I believe, when someone who works in food preparation is found to have hep A – in that case, there is a hep A vaccination clinic for those who ate the food that person prepared. I remember a few years ago this happened when a local grocery store had one of these clinics after it was found that a person who made some salad dressing there has the disease [↩]
- And this on top of the $40 consultation fee required to talk to the doc [↩]
- My mom told me afterward that I had this one as a kid, but I couldn’t remember so I figured it was better to get it again rather than not get it and find out that I hadn’t had it before [↩]
- My extended medical doesn’t cover vaccinations, but it does the drugs, so that’s good [↩]