Shots, Shots, Shots

Unfortunately this post is not about my adventures with alcoholic beverages. If that is what you were hoping for, take a peak at my post about when I went to a Ceilidh in Bathgate or when my friend Katie and I got drunk on a Boat in Estonia.

No, this post is about all the shots I needed to get in order to go to Cambodia and the general Southeast Asia region. As I mentioned in my last post where I talked about what I have been up to and how I have been preparing for my trip, it takes a lot of shots to go to Cambodia.

According to the CDC, and my own hospital, the following shots and recommended to all travelers regardless of where they are going to:

  • Rubella/ Measles/ Mumps (MMR)
  • Diphtheria/ Tetanus (Tdap)
  • Varicella/ Chicken Pox
  • Polio (Adult Vaccination)
  • Influenza

These are standard vaccinations to ensure overall health, and it is likely that you will have already gotten these at some point in your life. In my case, I had already gotten the Measles, Chicken Pox, and Polio vaccinations as a child. I had also gotten a Tetanus shot when I went to El Salvador that was still good. In this category, I needed the flu shot for this season, but also another Polio shot. While Polio is not necessarily needed for Cambodia, it is for Laos; which I am hoping to travel to, and it requires an adult vaccination. Upon getting this shot, I was given a yellow confirmation sheet, that I am required to keep on my person while traveling.

The following shots are also recommended, and are more specific to Cambodia and the Southeast Asia region:

  • Hepatitis A (Series of three)
  • Hepatitis B (Series of three)
  • Typhoid (Also an oral medication option)
  • Japanese Encephalitis (Series of three)
  • Rabies

I had already completed the series of Hepatitis A and B, so I was happy to pass over that option. For Typhoid, there is an option to skip the shot and take a pill. The pill is more effective, lasting five years rather than two for the shot. Personally, I opted for the shot as they are free of charge at my hospital, however it is something to consider. For Japanese Encephalitis, this is a series of three shots. Depending on where you travel to in Southeast Asia, you may not need it, but it is better safe than sorry in my opinion. Plan ahead for this shot, as you must wait 28 days to receive the next vaccination after the first, and another 7 days after that to get the last. Rabies follows a similar pattern, being a series, and so it is good to plan ahead for that one too. While Rabies might not be necessary, I would rather be safe than sorry if I got bit by a bat, stray dog, or an overly playful or aggressive monkey.

In terms of recommended medications, as I mentioned in my last post I received Malaria tablets and Antidiarrhoeal tablets (embarrassing, but necessary). While Malaria is not everywhere in Cambodia or Southeast Asia, there are some areas where it is a problem. Since I do not know where in Cambodia I will be as of yet, I opted for another “safe than sorry” approach. Unfortunately, my hospital only provided me with three months worth of tablets… So hopefully everything ends up okay or I can somehow find a way to get more. The last thing I need is to be on my hopefully epic, wonderful, life changing adventure… and then get Malaria.

And there you have it, a post about all the shots I got and shots you generally need when traveling to Cambodia/ Southeast Asia. There are of course other shots you could get, such as Cholera or Tuberculosis. However these are only necessary when epidemic, and in my case, I had already received those vaccinations as a child.

The most important thing I would do is to start getting your vaccinations at least two months before you plan to leave. Some require a series, some have specific amounts of time that must be between each vaccination, and even more so, it is not fun to have to get a lot of shots in one appointment. Both of my appointments so far left me feeling woozy on the table, and having the travel nurse instruct me to lay down for a few minutes… Not unlike if I was taking an actual shot…

Anyway, I hope you found this post mildly entertaining or informative to say the least. Stay tuned for more content about my pending departure.


The Travelsmith

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