Saturday, December 19, 2015

Costa Rican Souvenirs

Photo Credit: NY Times
Before we left for our Costa Rican winter vacation, my father did some research. This was actually his third trip to the Central American country, but it was the first time for my mother and me. So he did what any protective father would do, go online and research what vaccinations and precautions we should take.

First, we needed Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations. Fortunately, my annual pediatrician appointment in November coincided well so I was able to get my shots there as a part of my routine vaccination program.

My mother had her Hep A, but needed a Typhoid shot. And since my father's last Typhoid shot was in 2008, he needed another as well. And for these vaccines to work, they should be given at least 2 weeks prior to travel.

With over a month to go, my parents looked up Travel Vaccination clinics online and came across Passport Health. They had great Google Search Engine Optimization, but were very troublesome to schedule a convenient appointment time (even a month out). In addition to the $120 cost for the shot, it would also cost an additional $50 per person for a required "consultation" which we didn't need.

Then, on the morning of our scheduled appointment, they called in sick (ironic, huh?) and couldn't reschedule us for a few days. That inconvenience ended up being a blessing in disguise, as we soon found out that a nearby Walgreens had the vaccine in stock and could give us the shot without the onerous consultation fee. We just paid the retail price for the vaccine ($99/shot).

Now that we were protected from Hepatitis A and Typhoid, we needed some protection from the hoards of mosquitoes that plague this part of the world. Malaria wasn't a concern, but itchy bug bites can really be annoying.

So my father purchased some Natrapel Wipes on Amazon. As anyone who has used citronella sprays can tell you, they don't really work. The heavy chemical DEET is exceptionally effective, but can be dangerous, especially to toddlers.

That's why we went with Natrapel which uses Picaridin, instead of DEET, but just as effective at repelling bugs. They last 8 hours and get great reviews. They should still be used carefully and adults should apply them for their children, but we felt it was much safer than playing with DEET.

The first few days, my parents (at least my father) used the Natrapel wipes extensively on their arms and legs. And the mosquito bites were very minimal, usually during hours we were swimming prior to applying the wipes or after our evening showers when we washed off the repellent.

Then the final morning of our trip, we decided not to use the Natrapel wipes (since we'd just be having breakfast and heading to the airport). Well, when we arrived home, my father's arms looked like they were ravaged by those Costa Rican mosquitoes!

So I guess those wipes worked very well, but only when they're actually used.

1 comment:

  1. I just found your Europe Series a few days ago. It inspired me to also pursue my dream of going to Europe someday. I might also do it solo like what you did. I really enjoy reading all your entries. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.
    Southern Spain Itinerary