Friday, July 21, 2006

Going to Ghana?

Please don't be overwhelmed, but the the following is a summary of the vaccines and medications which are recommended for your trip. The more you know about your vaccination history, the less shots you may need to get.

  • Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (1 shot)---if your last one was more than 10 years ago.
  • Polio (1 shot) ---one time only needed as an adult.
  • Measles, (1 shot)--- if you are born after 1957, and you have not had 2 doses of MMR(measles,mumps,rubella) . Please note that measles is a live vaccine and it should not be given to pregnant women or to those with immunosupression.
  • Typhoid ( 4 pills)--- which are taken 1 every other day, and will be good for 5 years. If you have had a previous typhoid vaccination but in the form of a shot then that is only good for 2 years. Note that these pills should be refrigerated. This is also a live vaccine and should not be given to pregnant women or to those with immunosupression.
  • Hepatitis A ( series of 2 shots) ---if you have never had the series. The first one should be given 4 weeks prior to your trip. You will need a second shot in 6-12 months to be protected long term.
  • Hepatitis B---(a series of 3 shots ). The first 2 are given 4 weeks apart and the third is given in 6 months. You should get the first 2 shots before departure. This is especially recommended if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Hepatitis A/B combination shot may also be given. This follows the same schedule as hepatitis B shots.
  • Meningitis vaccine (1 shot)---if you have not received one in the last 3 years.
  • Yellow fever vaccine (1 shot)---if you have not had one in the last 10 years. This must be administered at a Certified Center.
  • MALARIA PILLS, 2 most commonly prescribed are the following but only one is needed: MALARONE (atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride)---taken one a day starting one day before entering the area and continue every day until 7 days after leaving the area.
    LARIAM (Mefloquine)--- taken one a week, starting one week before entering India and continuing for 4 weeks after leaving India. This is not recommended for people with depression. It has also been associated with vivid dreams.
  • Ciprofloxacin in case of traveler's diarrhea. If diarrhea occurs and if it is lasting more than 24 hours or it is associated with blood or fever then take one tablet of Cipro twice a day for 3 days.

  • Over the counter medications to consider depending on your needs are:
  • Imodium for diarrhea.
  • Diphenhydramine(Benadryl) for allergic reactions, motion sickness, and nausea.
  • Hydrocortisone cream for skin reactions.
  • Sudafed for congestion, especially if before a flight.
  • Acetominophen(Tylenol), Ibuprofen(Advil) or other anti-inflammatory medication.
  • DEET containing mosquito repellent.
  • Consider DEET permeated clothing, and wearing long sleeves and pants when outside at dusk or dawn which are feeding times for mosquitos.
  • See the Safe Food and Water page for a list of links.