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
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.