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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Traveling Pin Cushion....

The Traveling Pin Cushion

I couldn't believe it when I saw the list --- all those shots just to be able to travel? Some of these diseases have been eradicated for half a century. I was looking at the CDC website which recommends various immunizations needed for
traveling outside the country. The list for Egypt is so extensive that it cracked my glasses to read it.

First there are the "routine" shots -- routine except that I haven't had them. Tetanus -- that's the one you get when you step on a rusty nail, isn't it? Maybe they have a lot of rusty nails there. Diphtheria shot? Good grief, that's a baby shot. I think I had that one when I was in diapers.

Flu shots? I usually get a flu shot anyhow, except this year they ran out before they got to me. I suppose they will add the swine flu shot to the list when it becomes available. I don't think Egypt has any pigs, but it must be a threat anyhow.

Measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox -- I hate to admit this as I'm telling my age, but I should have immunity to those diseases as I've had them all. When I was a kid, shots of childhood didn't exist. The smallpox vaccination was the big thing.

Then there's a polio shot? I can't believe it. Yes, I had the shots when they were still attached to a needle if you must know. I would only need a booster. Who can believe there are places in the world that still worry about polio.

The hepatitis B shot is iffy. I don't think I have any of the behaviors that require it -- other than visiting a foreign country. Guess my doctor will know if that's enough. I'm beginning to think I won't have any blood left to become infected when they get done sticking me.

Then there are the so called "travel shots," the ones your doctor can't even give you that you have to go to a travel clinic to get. That would be for interesting things like typhoid and hepatitis A, diseases from unclean water. If I've been told once, I've been told a thousand times. Don't drink the water. Also, don't use ice.

And at the bottom of the list is a rabies shot. Rabies? Just like the dog? It seems that many countries do not require animals to be vaccinated, and they can easily carry diseases like rabies. Avoid petting animals like dogs or cats that could bite. I hope camels don't get rabies. I've heard it's the camels you have to watch out for.

I am supposed to avoid birds as they can carry avian flu which is epidemic in other parts of the world. Stay away from chickens in markets, advises the health information site. I'm really not into petting chickens visiting poultry markets, so that should be easy.

Here is one bit of good news, Yellow fever is only a danger in other parts of Africa , and so I get to skip that shot. I can also skip Japanese encephalitis. Well, I'm happy there are at least a few diseases that I am not in danger of bringing home. I don't like that kind of souvenir.

Malaria is not a serious threat, but I still need to use insect repellent to keep mosquitoes away. My baggie of liquids for the plane is going to be very full. Can't I get any of this stuff after I get there? Do they have Walmart in Egypt? (Forget I said that.)

I will be a walking pin cushion with all these shots, a bloodless zombie wrapped in mosquito net, with insect repellant, sunscreen, long sleeves, sun glasses and a sun hat, trying not to look like an American.

If the mosquitoes are bugging me, I can show them my immunization record and say, "Sorry, I've already donated."�

Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss

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