International Travel Vaccinations

Sure, you've taken lots of weekend getaways to neighboring states, national parks, beaches, and historic monuments. And you've taken lots of trips to visit relatives and for special occasions. But this is it: you're finally going abroad, and making preparations for the international vacation of a lifetime. In the excitement of planning your exploration of different cultures, do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and plan ahead for vaccinations as well. While the shot in the arm some vaccines require might not be the most fun part of your preparations, it may very well be the most important part if you come in contact with contaminated food, diseasecarrying mosquitoes, or other risk factors. And the peace of mind that comes with international travel vaccinations will allow you to relax and enjoy your vacation more: after all, whether you go to Mexico, Africa, Asia, South America, Europe, or somewhere off the beaten path, this is the trip of a lifetime.

Vaccinations can be fairly complicated: sometimes the transmission season of a certain disease varies due to which area you'll be visiting, as with Japanese Encephalitis. Sometimes the malaria risk in a certain country will be updated by the Center for Disease Control between now and your departure date. Sometimes your own personal health issues will guide which international travel vaccinations you receive: is your immune system normal? Do you have small children with you? Are you pregnant or nursing? For a personalized look at which vaccines are right for you, we can't stress enough that you should both do your own research by consulting the CDC, and visit a doctor, preferably one with experience with travel vaccines.

While this information is certainly subject to change, here are some examples of infectious diseases that have vaccines available:

Hepatitis A - A foodborne illness with readily available and highly recommended vaccines. The most relevant travel destinations with a high risk of Hepatitis A include all developing nations.

Hepatitis B - A bloodborne illness with readily available and highly recommended vaccines. Areas most affected by this disease are Asia, SubSaharan Africa, and the interior Amazon basin in South America.

Japanese Encephalitis - A mosquito transmitted disease with vaccinations available for travelers, but only recommended under certain circumstances, such as a longer stay or visits to rural areas. This disease is relevant to travelers who plan to visit Asia.

Malaria - A mosquitotransmitted disease that affects millions of people worldwide. While there are no true vaccines for malaria, it is such a common and important international health concern that it is worth mention. Prophylactic drugs can be taken as a precaution for visitors to high risk areas. These may lessen your chances of contracting malaria, but your best defense is to prevent mosquito bites with extreme care in affected areas. The areas affected by malaria are always changing, so consult the CDC for uptodate information.

Typhoid Fever - This foodborne illness has available vaccinations, so check to see if the area you'll be visiting is a highrisk area.

Yellow Fever - This mosquitotransmitted disease has an effective tenyear vaccine. Some locations require immunization certificates proving that you've had a yellow fever shot as part of your international travel vaccines.

While third world countries are often only considered as destinations that require vaccinations, UK travel vaccinations are also important. Did you know that rabies vaccinations are recommended for those exploring caves and other wilderness areas as part of their UK travel vaccinations? In addition to this, routine vaccinations such as rubella/mumps/measles should be brought up to date as part of your UK travel vaccinations because there may be a higher risk of these diseases when you interact with different populations than you'd find at home.

Note: Always consult your doctor or another qualified medical professional for the best information about international travel vaccinations.

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