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Vaccination for your travels

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Each of us will come to a point when we’ll need to get additional immunization for certain destinations in the world. Let’s have a look at what specific vaccines you need for your trips.

As a traveler, you probably have the most basic vaccinations:

  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Tuberculosis
  • Polio
  • & All the ones you got as a child

If you happen to have missed some of the above vaccinations or you aren’t up to date on all of them, make sure to get yourself covered.

There are then special vaccines for diseases that exist on a bigger scale only in certain regions. We’ll check by continents what immunizations are necessary:

Africa: Typhoid and yellow fever vaccine

Asia: Japanese encephalitis for Southeast Asia, typhoid for South Asia, yellow fever

Australia: No special vaccinations needed

Europe: No special vaccinations needed

North America: Typhoid vaccine when visiting Mexico

South America: Typhoid and yellow fever vaccine

Most of the immunizations are voluntary, so it depends on you if you prefer to get the shot or take the risk of developing a certain disease. The only vaccination that is compulsory is yellow fever for sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America. You are required to carry around a proof of your yellow fever immunization.

Rabies is a topic on its own. The expensive 3-shot vaccine is recommended for Africa, Asia, Central and South America – basically places where you might come across an infected dog. However, even if you’re fully immunized against rabies, you must still get an immediate medical treatment in case you get bitten.

You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned Malaria. That’s because there is no vaccination available for it. If you plan to travel to Africa, Central and South America or Southeast Asia and you’re concerned you might contract the disease, your only option is to get a prescribed preventive medication.

Mosquitoes spread many of the above-mentioned diseases; so to avoid them is a good preventive measure. Mosquitoes can also carry Dengue, a nasty disease against which there is no vaccine or preventive medicines so use a good mosquito repellent.

The best practice is to check the risks well in advance before visiting your destination. Undoubtedly the best source is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can even select what type of travel you’re going to have. Here’s a link to their country-specific info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list

For all the vaccines and boosters you get, make sure to have them noted down by your doctor into your personal Yellow Card that serves as a certificate of vaccinations. It’s ideal to carry it around with your passport.

 

Sources:

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=61178

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/31/travel/vaccinations-for-traveling-abroad.html?_r=0

 

Do you have any further advice on immunizations and vaccines?

 

 

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