If you're planning a summer vacation overseas this year, you've likely spent quite a bit of time deciding where to go, what hotels to stay in, what sights to see and booking flights and other transportation. One important aspect that many forget to plan for, however, is proper vaccinations. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control both recommend a number of vaccinations before traveling abroad, and in some instances specific vaccinations are required before you can enter a country. At Health Voyager, Carolyn Scott-Hamilton published an informative article covering some details about vaccinations ahead of any international travel. Before your trip, come see us at Razook's Drug to ensure you're up to date on all your needed vaccines.
Vaccinations by region
The vaccinations you'll need depend on the area of the world you'll be traveling to. Yellow Fever is of particular concern for many international travelers. If you're traveling to warmer climates like those found in South America or sub-Saharan Africa, a Yellow Fever vaccination will be required. Many parts of the world also require a Hepatits B vaccination. For most of Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, a Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended. The CDC even suggests getting one for trips to northern locations like Alaska and Greenland. Hepatitis A is a concern for travelers to much of Africa, Europe and the South Pacific. For the Caribbean and South and Central America, you'll need a vaccine for typhoid. And malaria is a big risk for those traveling to Africa and parts of South and Central America as well.
Depending on the actual vaccines you need, it could take some time to complete the series and allow your body to build up an immunity. That's why doctors recommend getting your vaccination 4 to 6 weeks before traveling. The CDC even recommends contacting a health care professional up to 6-months ahead of your trip to make arrangements. Most vaccines are safe for everyone with the exception of children and pregnant women. When you see your healthcare professional, it's also a good idea to get any other vaccines you may be behind on. For example, many of us are behind on the MMR vaccine so this is a good opportunity to get caught up. Be sure to research to find if the country you're traveling to needs additional documentation about your vaccination records. Particularly for Yellow Fever, a stamped certificate is required in some countries.
Even when properly vaccinated, there are additional precautions you should take to ensure a healthy trip. Only cooked fully cooked foods, including produce unless you can wash them yourself in clean water. Try to stick to bottled beverages only to be safe. Use insect repellant and sleep in an air conditioned room or in a mosquito net when possible. Wash your hands often and don't touch wildlife.
Razook's Drug administers the vaccinations you need to stay healthy before your trip, or any time. Make an appointment, or walk-ins are also welcome.