With all the excitement and planning associated with traveling, vaccines are probably the last thing on your mind. According to IMU Southwest, The Immunization clinic that offers mobile flu vaccinations, you should always keep in mind that traveling to other parts of the world could expose you to new diseases, especially when visiting heavily populated cities and developing countries. Here are some vaccinations you should get before taking off.
Yellow fever is a virus spread through infected mosquitos. This viral infection affects the liver and can cause fever, jaundice, hemorrhage, and renal failure. The yellow fever vaccination should be administered ten days before travel; in fact, many countries require proof of this vaccination before allowing entry. Yellow fever is more abundant in tropical sectors of the globe, like sub Saharan Africa, Central America, and South America.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Whooping Cough
Although risk of tetanus is present at home, it is always a good idea to make sure you’re up to date before traveling. Tetanus shots now protect against whooping cough and diphtheria, as well as the disease for which they are named. They should be administered every five to ten years, regardless if you’re travelling or not.
Polio is mostly transmitted through infected food and water. Extreme cases of polio include paralysis, impaired swallowing and speech, and bladder dysfunction. Although this disease has been mostly eradicated in developed countries, it is still present in the developing world. And while you should sample the cuisine of wherever you’re going, it’s difficult to know the source of your food when traveling. Everyone is due for a polio booster every four to six years, so make sure you are up-to date, especially when visiting developing countries.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection that targets the liver. According to IMU Southwest, The Immunization Clinic that offers cost effective medical solutions, it can be transmitted sexually, through water, and through food(s) such as shellfish. When it comes to contracting hepatitis A, Central and South America are the highest risk travel destinations for Americans. Get this vaccination a month before traveling—a second vaccine six months to a year after the first dose can dramatically boost immunity.
Although hepatitis B is passed through bodily fluids, anyone can come into contact with blood or an unsterilized needle, especially when visiting an unfamiliar or underdeveloped part of the world. The places that pose the highest risks for Americans are the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa. A series of three hepatitis B vaccines can give you virtual immunity. One should be administered a month before traveling. The second one should be a month after the first, right before traveling. The third one should be administered six months after the second one.
Rabies is a viral infection that involves the central nervous system. It can cause spasms in the muscles used for breathing, whole body convulsions, and cardiac arrest. This sometimes-fatal disease is transferred through animal bites, especially in developing countries in Southeast Asia, India, sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and South America. If you suspect that you’ve been bitten, seek medical attention immediately. Rabies is only curable before symptoms set in.
Typhoid fever is spread through infected food or water, and is most prevalent in South and Southeast Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The vaccine is available as a single injection or as four capsules; the last dose should be taken at least a week before traveling. Young children should not take this vaccine.
Tick Borne Encephalitis
Tick borne encephalitis is transferred to humans through the bite of an infected tick and milk from infected animals. Severe symptoms of this disease include meningitis and muscular paralysis. This vaccination is highly recommended for travelers visiting European Russia, Europe, and eastern parts of China. The vaccine is administered in two doses, one four-to-twelve weeks before traveling, and one soon before departure.