Travel Alert Level – Yellow, as in Yellow Fever

As I write this, it is 25 days until I leave for China. I figure that I should probably get a complete medical check up before venturing to Asia (and while I still have good health insurance). At the recommendation of Liz, I go see her doctor, Dr. Ramm.

I saw a judgmental look the very moment I told her I was going to China for 6 months and potentially traveling to India, Japan and Thailand within that time. Mind you, she herself from India. So, this alarmed me.

Her: “You have not given yourself enough time to get all of the necessary medical work that would be need for this type of travel.”

Me: “Well, what type of medical work is needed?”

Her: “You need to be concerned with malaria, yellow fever, hepatitis, AIDS and thoma-something (which I’ve since discovered is “typhoid”).”

I started to freak out.

After I stopped hyperventilating and came to terms with the fact that I would most definitely catch all of these things, we decided on a vaccination for hepatitis A and thombasomething (typhoid). Fortunately, yellow fever is not in China, but runs rampid in Cambodia, so Dr. Ramm warned “DO NOT GO THERE.” And malaria is very treatable, so “no need to worry about that”. Oh sure, malaria, no big deal.

So, I got over my Trypanophobia and rolled up my sleeve for a hepatitis vaccine. Then Dr. Ramm advised me that on July I was  to “ONLY GO TO THIS SPECIFIC HOSPITAL IN BEIJING” to get round 2 of the shot. As a woman from the Asia continent, doesn’t she realize how big China is. It would be like traveling from Detroit to Phoenix. Yeah, that’s economical & logical.

And never once the mention of Bird or Swine Flu.

Dr. Ramm also gave me important travel tips. I think there pretty helpful and wanted to pass them along.

  1. Do not eat anything off the street. Only eat food from a really nice, quality restaurant and unopened packages from the supermarket. This will be difficult because I’m used to buying opened packages from the grocery store.
  2. Eat hot food only. If it’s hot, most likely it’s been cooked at a temperature that would kill any bacteria. Even when it’s 100 degrees in July, “HOT FOOD”. This could prevent me from getting some crazy bacteria, but I’ll probably get heat stroke.
  3. Drink only bottled water even if the locals drink the tap water. Their bodies are used to the germs. If you must drink tap water boil it. And only a recognizable brand name.
  4. No fruit that can not be peeled. For example apples and strawberry’s are not good. Bananas and oranges are okay.
  5. No salad.
  6. No milk. Most milk products are unpasteurized. To get daily calcium, take supplements. Or you can boil your milk and place it in the fridge to cool.
  7. Take a daily vitamin.
  8. Better yet, take the safe route and don’t eat or drink anything.
  9. And you probably shouldn’t leave your house.
  10. Don’t talk to anyone. If you do, you will surely get AIDS and hepatitis, but probably not H1N1.

She concluded the visit with “Happy travels. It’s going to be a great experience. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

Very reassuring.


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