It has been said that vacations are a time to let your
body rest and finally rejuvenate as you enjoy your family,
friends, and a beautiful destination. There have even
been studies that have heralded the health benefits of
taking a much-needed holiday. However, there are times
when a vacation can mean increased health risk, especially
when you are visiting international locations such as Africa, Mexico, Central and South
America, Asia, and many developing
nations. Even nations with similar health standards as
the United States may present increased risk. The fact
is, when we pick up our bodies and place them in areas
they are unaccustomed to we are doing something rather
unnatural, scientifically speaking. After all, air travel
has only been around for a few short decades. As we become
a global community, we are interacting with different
populations, foods, and cultures in very interesting ways,
but sometimes our immune systems are not quite as up to
the challenge as we are. That's why travel vaccinations
are such an important part of planning your vacation.
As soon as you decide on where you'll be going, visit a health care professional to gather up-to-date and reliable information regarding travel immunizations relevant to your destination. The Center for Disease Control is a great resource, both electronically and in print. As you search for information on diseases and travel vaccines, don't be scared away from an international vacation, just be informed and take the measures that are appropriate. Below is a list of important things to remember about travel immunizations.
- Do your research, and then consult a doctor four to six weeks prior to your vacation to get your travel immunizations done on time. Even if you think it's too late, consult a doctor anyway.
- Is your destination sanitary when it comes to
food and beverages? If not, travel vaccinations for diseases
such as hepatitis A and typhoid fever are a good
way to go, as well as increased vigilance regarding what
you consume (see articles for these illnesses, in addition
to travelers diarrhea)
- Is your destination one that contains disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes? Immunizations and precautions against bites to prevent malaria, Japanese Encephalitis, and yellow fever might be prudent.
- Is your immune system, or those of your children, uniquely at a higher risk than normal, requiring additional travel vaccines?
- Are you pregnant or nursing?
Each specific location comes with its own set of health concerns, so peruse these articles as well as the CDC and other viable sources. Then get your travel shots done, and get out there and see the world!
Note: Always consult your doctor or another qualified medical professional for the best information about international travel vaccinations.