As adults we sometimes forget and maybe we just don’t know that once a decade we have vaccinations that we need to have to protect against illnesses such as tetanus, diptheria and even the flu.
It is really important to make sure that your shots are current before heading out to travel abroad. International travel can increase your chance of being exposed to an illness that is completely preventable and we don’t think about, such as polio, mumps, measles and rubella.
Below is a list of recommendations that will at least get you thinking and inspire you to start the conversation with your doctor before taking off.
- Hepatitis A: This illness is typically contracted by contaminated food and water and is seen in countries that suffer with poverty, but can be found around the world. The first vaccine will protect most for at least a year, a second vaccine can last 20+ years.
- Typhoid: Contracted by eating contaminated food and water and is a gastrointestinal infection. There are 2 types of vaccines available in the U.S and both types will cover you about 70%. The injected vaccine lasts about 2 years and then it needs to be repeated. The swallowable capsules protect up to about 5 years and is a series of capsules. The highest risk of contracting Typhoid is in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. If contracted Typhoid can be treated with antibiotics.
- Rabies: Transmitted by bites, ticks and scrateches from infected animals (mammals). The vaccine is a series of 3 doses, spread out over a 3 to 4 week period. This vaccine is extremely important for travelers who spend time in remote destinations. Check with your insurance company to see if they cover the cost as this vaccine is quite expensive.
- Yellow Fever: This illness is contracted by infected mosquitos in parts of tropical Africa and So. America. The vaccine lasts at least 10 years. It typically contains a live virus that can cause complications in people who have a compromised immune system and elderly people. The shot takes 10 days for it to become valid.
- Tetanus: Commonly known as lockjaw. This is a bacterial disease and is contracted through a cut or deep wound. Tetanus shots last 10 years. This one is a must for anyone traveling and you haven’t had a tetanus shot within the last 10 years.
Traveler’s tip: You can protect yourself from gastrointestinal illnesses when traveling by taking Acidophilus capsules, two weeks prior to your departure, the length of your trip and 2 weeks after you return. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any medication or starting the Acidophilus to make sure it won’t react with any medications you may be taking.
For more information, visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/vaccinations.htm
For more information on what is required in at your destination. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm