by Joe Byers - Thursday, March 5, 2020
Many hunters book hunting trips in late winter and early spring, seizing on outdoor shows such as the annual NRA Great American Outdoor Show and the SCI Annual Convention to meet personally with guides and outfitters. Unfortunately, the onset and impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is casting a cloud of concern about hunting when it involves travel to destinations not just in North America but around the world.
While at the recent SCI show, one of the vendors I ran into was Vaccines on the Go. As the coronavirus spreads, the booth visit was particularly timely. I shared my memory of my first trip to Africa 25 years ago. The vaccination ordeal was time-consuming and expensive. Then, upon arrival, my professional hunter pointed out that none of the diseases I was vaccinated against and had medicine for, such as yellow fever and malaria, were present in his area. Since then, I avoid blanket vaccinations, but hunters still need to be covered for specific threats in the area they will be hunting.
I was interested to learn that Vaccines on the Go offers both vaccinations and medical services for traveling hunters. According to Registered Nurse and CEO Jody Stewart, the company provides necessary travel immunizations for hunters and others traveling in and out of a given country, as well as to hospitals and entire corporations, and will come to your home or business.
“We work with a lot of hunters who will be traveling out of the country,” Stewart said. “We can provide routine vaccines for a variety of diseases including anthrax, yellow fever, typhoid, shingles, hepatitis A and B, flu and pneumonia … as well as some needed to go in and out of countries. We take our recommendations directly from the World Health Organization and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines so we don’t try to upsell you or scare you so that you don’t go on your hunt.”
Keep Focused on Prevention
A sudden onset of illness can ruin a hunt. Traveling to the nearest medical center may mean packing out your camp and spending money on last-minute travel.
If you travel with a passport, be sure that your “yellow book” is updated with your immunizations provided by your family physician and travel experts. Vaccines on the Go consult with you, vaccinate you and update your yellow book to make sure you have all required medications to travel.
A unique offering from Vaccines on the Go the is a medical kit containing the most widely used medicines. Part of the kit package includes having a physician consultant available 24/7 so that if you get sick, you can speak with a doctor and learn what medications are needed. The doctor will walk you through the medical kit so help remedy your situation in camp rather than at a hospital.
On one of my early African trips, I came down with a cold and remember visiting the “chemist” at the Johannesburg airport upon arrival. I wanted a multi-symptom cold medicine like those offered in the United States only to discover that no such remedies were available.
Practice Smart Travel
I’ve learned to pace my travel plans so as not to overtax my immune system. This means no 6 a.m. flights, though they are the cheapest, because I must arise at 3 a.m. to catch the flight. Likewise, when I take groups to Africa, we plan to get a good night’s sleep before the hunt begins, even if this means postponing the excitement until the next day. When you ingest different foods at different times of the day and deal with jet lag, it’s easy to become exhausted, which can make you vulnerable to illness. Even a cold is a problem if you must stalk animals at close range.
As your hunt date nears, make sure you have a supply of your daily vitamins and medications. You can put your meds in a pill organizer, yet it’s best to take the prescription bottles so there is no doubt about the drugs you are taking and can try and get them refilled if needed.
Vaccines on the Go sells Cili by Design, a supplement to be taken daily or for specific needs. It contains Vitamin D, Vitamin C and autoimmune vitamins. It’s nano technology so it takes a vitamin from 2,000 nanometers down to seven nanometers so that it absorbs directly into the bloodstream. Containing nine essential vitamins and minerals, it helps with inflammation, pain and overall well-being.
“We have done blood tests with this and are seeing wonderful results,” Stewart said. “Take a capful a day, swish it around in your mouth.”
Vaccines on the Go has four flagship products to keep traveling hunters healthy, starting with Boost, which provides a “pick-me-up” without caffeine instead of coffee or energy drinks. There also is a product to aid sleep, one that helps with stress and anxiety and one for addressing pain, such as from a migraine or hip and joint issues instead of having to use drugs. “It’s new technology, less than a year old, and we hope to have our launch in the next few months,” Stewart said. “We also offer an EpiPen. It’s an Epi-pack that has epinephrine in two vials with syringes so that if hunters get stung by a bee, they can self-inject and get back on their adventure.”
Coronavirus: What We Know so Far
“Everyone is talking about it, but there is no need to be afraid, Stewart said, providing you take precautions. “The World Health Organization and CDC recommend the same things for flu because the same precautions seem to work,” Stewart said. “There is no cure for corona yet, but washing hands, staying away from sick and coughing people and using hand sanitizer helps. And, if you are sick, stay in.” She added that if someone is sick on your plane or boat, officials can quarantine you. It’s merely a precaution to keep the virus from spreading.
In closing, Stewart said the company is on hand to make sure traveling hunters have necessary and updated information to be prepared for outbreaks and viruses of which we may not even be aware. “We get hourly updates from CDC and pass them along to you,” she explained.
Stewart emphasized that people get a pneumonia vaccine or update their flu vaccine. “If you were vaccinated in August or September, we recommend that you get a second dose of the influenza because it can run its course in six to eight months,” she noted. Call us or go to www.vaccines2go.com to book an appointment or call 1-800-268-VOTG (8684).”
At this writing, no one can accurately predict how the coronavirus will affect our nation and the world. The tendency may be for people to withdraw from travel plans, avoid airports and large gatherings. Adventure travel may suffer the same fate as the stock market. It is imperative that hunters stay abreast of the latest coronavirus information by visiting the WHO's information page on the virus.
With that in mind, the traveling hunter will note that now may be the time to buy. We may see tremendous bargains on airfare. Lodges and outfitters facing a loss of business will be more open to fee negotiation. The odds of drawing a lottery-application hunt might even improve, and outfitters will need to fill cancelled hunts. My fondest wish is that none of the above happens. If it does, don’t panic. Use common sense measures to protect the health of you and your family and keep an open mind toward adventure. That hunt of a lifetime you’ve always dreamed of may become an economic reality.
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About the Author
Joe Byers has been an avid hunter and outdoor writer for the past four decades, resulting in thousands of blog posts, articles and published photographs. A crossbow enthusiast, he is the author of “The Ultimate Guide to Crossbow Hunting,” which includes several chapters on his African adventures at Rock Haven.
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