So, you're excited about traveling overseas, and everything, including your passport, is ready. While that may seem enough for the preparation part, there is one thing you should never assume; getting some travel vaccinations.
Travel vaccinations refer to shots given to travelers when visiting other countries to protect them from contracting illnesses. By getting vaccinated, you're also mindful about those close to you since you won't bring them diseases.
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises people to see their doctor some weeks before traveling internationally and get the necessary vaccines. Getting the vaccinations early enough gives your body ample time to develop immunity.
Here are some common vaccinations you should know about when traveling overseas.
Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through foods and drinks. CDC recommends that people traveling to countries like Africa, the Caribbean, central and south America, east and Southeast Asia should be vaccinated against typhoid fever since it is more prevalent in those areas. This vaccine is available in oral and injection forms.
It's also good to note that these vaccines will not offer you maximum protection. You still need to practice proper hygiene practices like washing hands frequently and eating foods from outlets where hygiene is observed.
Typhoid vaccines lose effectiveness as time goes by. That's why doctors recommend getting a booster, usually after two years if it's the oral vaccine and five years for injection vaccines.
Yellow fever vaccine is one of the most common vaccinations travelers are required to get before traveling overseas. Yellow fever is usually transmitted by mosquitoes and has a very high fatality rate.
When preparing the list of areas to visit or the things to do, indicate somewhere that you need to get a yellow fever vaccine. This is because there is a very high chance that you will be asked to provide a certificate to prove that you have already gotten the vaccine when traveling overseas.
Measles is a very contagious disease transmitted through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Some complications of this disease include lung infection, brain swelling and may even cause death. Getting a measles vaccine two weeks before your journey will keep you safe from this life-threatening disease.
Travelers who have never received the measles vaccine or those who have never contacted the disease are at higher risk of contracting this disease.
Meningococcal meningitis is caused by bacteria and is spread through air droplets or getting into contact with an infected person.
CDC recommends that travelers going to the sub-Saharan Africa meningitis belt get vaccinated against meningococcal meningitis since the area has frequent outbreaks of this illness.
Travelers who are more likely to engage in activities that expose them to this disease, such as staying for long periods and interacting with the locals, are even at more risk of contracting the disease. The meningitis vaccine, also known as the MenACWY vaccine, is more effective when administered 2-3 weeks before traveling.
Hepatitis A and B
Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food, while hepatitis B is transmitted through body fluids. These diseases are prevalent in areas without proper sanitation. If you're visiting such an area, your doctor might advise you to get the vaccines. The vaccine for hepatitis A is usually given in 3 doses, and it is recommended that travelers get all of them when going to areas where this disease is common. It is usually given to people six months and above and is very effective.
Like hepatitis A, the hepatitis B vaccine is given in three doses and is recommended for people who plan to engage in activities that could expose them to the disease, such as sharing drug injections or engaging in sports activities.
Japanese encephalitis is prevalent in rural areas of Asia. This virus is found in birds and pigs and passed on to mosquitoes after biting an infected animal. While not all travelers are advised to get the vaccination., those planning to live long in areas where this disease is prevalent should get it. It is usually given in two doses, the second one being administered four weeks after the first. Even after getting the vaccination, it's good to sleep under a mosquito net or to apply mosquito repellent on your skin when you're in high-risk areas.
Traveling is an amazing experience that creates lifetime memories. As you enjoy seeing different places, it's also a chance to bring back home to your loved ones gifts such as personalized wedding guest books, kikois, hand-made sandals, waist beads, earrings, among others. Imagine getting to or from your dream destination only to fall ill. That would be so devastating, and honestly, no one looks forward to that. Talk to your doctor some days before your journey, and they will give you recommendations on which vaccinations to get based on your destination, immunization history, and your current health. Make sure you talk to them several days before the actual traveling day since some vaccines need to be administered days or even weeks before you travel.