Essential Items You Need for a Healthy Trip to Ghana
I'm off to Accra, Ghana to visit my best friend Carolina who moved there over a year ago to help launch Teach for Ghana. I will be joined by my other two best friends Maritza and Frances. I'm so excited to explore Ghana with my girls, and to check off my bucket list item of celebrating my birthday abroad! I turn 27 on October 2nd (shout out to all my Libras!).
Here is my packing list of the essential items I needed to make this a healthy trip!
☐ Passport with a Visa
Ghana requires a visa for entry into the country. There are a lot of companies that charge you extra to help you get your visa "faster". Avoid those companies and visit the Ghana Embassy.org for the correct information on how to process your visa application. I received my visa within 2 weeks of sending it out. Also, although the website says to send your pre-stamp envelope via FedEx, you can send it through any postal service as long as there is a tracking number included with it.
☐ Yellow Fever Vaccination & Yellow Card Certification
Yellow fever is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes that is endemic in Ghana. You are required to have proof of vaccination when you enter and exit the country. Plan accordingly because the vaccine isn't effective until 10 days post vaccination. If you follow me on social media you know that I had a really bad reaction to the yellow fever vaccine. My anaphylactic symptoms started 30 mins post vaccination and not during the 15 minutes where I was monitored. I had side effects for 5 days, but I'm happy to report I'm back to good health. Luckily the vaccine is good for 10 years because I am never getting it again!
The sun is going to be out in full force while I'm in Accra. I plan to protect myself and apply sunscreen frequently. I purchased my sunscreen from my lovely friend Jessie Jade at Sunkiss Organics. I prefer her products over traditional sunscreen because they have all natural ingredients.
☐ Anti-Malarial Medication & DEET Containing Insect Repellent
Malaria is a disease that is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquito mainly at night. Taking Malaria medication is optional. Given my unexpected adverse reaction to the yellow fever vaccine I decided to forgo taking malaria medication because I don't want to introduce another foreign substance into my body. Not to mention I know plenty of people who have taken the medication and had really terrible side effects like vivid nightmares, nausea, and vomiting. I feel comfortable with my decision because I purchased Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent and Repel 30% DEET Mosquito Repellent Wipes. I did extensive research on what insect repellent products I should buy and these products had high reviews. Also, when I'm in Ghana I plan to buy artesunate, a short term (about 3 days) over the counter malarial treatment. I will bring it back home with me just in case I start to display malarial symptoms, (i.e. fever, chills, aches and pains, lack of appetite, lethargy).
☐ Anti-Diarrheal Medication & Oral Rehydration Solution
The chance of me coming down with a digestive illness is way higher than the chance of me coming down with Malaria. I plan on drinking bottle water only, but just in case I come in contact with contaminated food and/or water, I bought Imodium and LyteShow Rapid Rehydration drops.
☐ Benedryl & EpiPen
I have a nut allergy and that's why I try to always carry Benedryl and my EpiPen on me. My EpiPen saved my life when I had an anaphylactic reaction to the yellow fever vaccine, and it made me realize that everyone (especially travelers) should have an EpiPen on hand for unexpected allergic reactions. EpiPen offers a savings card. I was actually able to get mine for free using this card and my insurance.
☐ Long Pajamas
Another strategy I'm using to protect myself from insect bites is wearing long pajamas and socks at night.
Along with these items, I am packing a positive attitude and saying my routine travel mercy prayer! Ghana, I'm ready for you!
Have you been to Ghana? Did I miss anything on my list?
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