Shots! Shots! Shots!

2 Moose on the Loose Mongol Rally travel Travel prep Vaccines

Unfortunately I'm not referring to the obnoxious song that drives me mental everytime I hear it, and I'm not referring to Jaegerbombs, Lemondrops, Buttery Nipples, Jello shots, Kamikaze, Liquid Cocaines, Polar Bears, or straight up tequila. Although, I wish I was.

I am, however, referring to the major cocktails we've been receiving for the last month. I figured you may be wondering what it takes to get this sort of trip going and people seem interested so it's time for a blog post! 

A month ago we went in and nearly had a heart attack when we were told all the crap we'll need to inject ourselves with in order to keep us disease free and received an invoice for $2400. Pro-tip: If you want to save your bank, stick to Europe. 

The main concern for us was Rabies. There was a guy who didn't get his vaccines and got himself bit by a rabid dog in Mongolia a few years ago and had to be flown to South Korea. Without the vaccines, you have 48 hours to get an injection of HRIG-Immune Globulin if you'd like to stay alive (rabies is the only 100% fatal death of not vaccinated). Unfortunately, unless it's a resourceful hospital, many do not carry this miracle cure, hence he had to fly to South Korea. Luckily for us, having the vaccine means we don't need this injection, nor do we need various injections every day for 7 days if we DO get bitten. We would just need 2 which most hospitals, including remote Mongolian ones, have. That said, if you're thinking of getting yourself a rabies shot, pucker up your butthole and brace yourself: you need 3 shots a week apart at $240 EACH. But you're set for life and mom, dad, you can sleep soundly that we won't turn into Cujo. We hurt for a day or two and just have (in my case, really strong) headache, and kind of groggy but not in pain thereise despite this neon pink shot. Yes, it was neon pink.

Another two lovely shots were Hepatitis A. I cannot tell you how many times justin and I have argued which Hep shot we got in school - but you all got hep C, not A. The risk for it is low, but is possible in third world countries, and it's another shot that's good for life, assuming you get the third booster in the following year. Either way it's not a deadly disease but you would miss a good month of work and treatment is pretty damn pricey. That said, this shot was a bitch and neither Justin nor I were able to move our arm for almost 2 days once it started kicking in. With 1.4 million cases each year, we will not be one of them!

Next up is Tetanus/Pertussis. You should all be getting it every 10 years (whoops, pretty sure we haven't gotten ours for a good 15-20 years) but turns out it IS available by your doctor if you just walk in. It has a high fatality rate at a reported 10% worldwide with 195,000 pertussis deaths in children every year. 

Polio. Another lifetime vaccine, score! No feces-spreading disease for us! This one travels person-to-person  and is generally contained in the feces and oral secretions of infected individuals. It is a virus and is a deadly and crippling infectious disease, and if you tend to travel or work with refugee camps of any sort, get on that!

The other painful injection that left our OTHER arm immbile for a few days was Typhoid Fever. It's good for 3 years, so I need to start planning all the trips into affected areas now to take advantage of it :-P India, here I come! It's basically spread through contaminated food or water. When this vaccine came up, we had two choices: 1. $60 for an injectable that lasts 3 years or 2. $50 for an oral that lasts 7. Seems like a no brainer, right? Wrong! We laughed at the nurse saying what idiot would go for the more expensive, shorter lasting, more painful option.... we did. Turns out your options are summarized up by a numb arm for 2 days or essentially flu-like symptoms for an entire week. Your typhoid fun facts: about 21 million cases annually resulting in 222,000 deaths. So, all things considered, the odds aren't too bad? 

Yellow Fever wasn't a must but you can't be too safe. There are actually countries that won't even let you in if you don't even HAVE the vaccine. 

The other fun stuff we got in our goodie bag were antibiotics for traveler's diarrhea in case the unicorn vomit known as Pepsi Bismol doesn't work. This stuff's good for Cholera and Ecoli, bring on the street meats and tap water! 

OMG, I'm kidding. I can just hear the parents reading this. 

And lastly, altitude sickness. Hitting up the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan (the original Silk Road!! If you've watched Marco Polo, you'll appreciate this). We were originally thinking of skipping this, and are still leaving it to gameday decision on how we're feeling, but with the pills and such, it should help us handle 4000m altitudes as we drive through the mountains and hit up what is considered the highlight of this trip by ALL previous Mongol Ralliers. Stoked! 

This is your fun facts of the day brought to you by 2 Moose on the Loose. These stats aren't here to scare you, quite the opposite. Rest assured we are safe, took precautions, and if anything goes wrong on this trip, it will not be a range of diseases! 

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  • Tamara on

    I highly recommend altitude meds, especially if you’ve never been higher than 3000m for long periods of time before (planes don’t count). Altitude sickness is really crappy and will stop you from doing fun things, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. Also take more cipro than you think you’ll need, it’s a really good all-around antibiotic for other things than diarrhea too.

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