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Vaccinations Can Protect You From Illness During International Travel

Before you travel internationally, you’ll likely make a visit to your doctor and you’ll quickly find that it is his or her job to inform you of the vaccine preventable illnesses that you may come in contact with while traveling. No one likes to subject themselves to vaccines, but if you want to travel safely, vaccines are the only way to go. Get with your doctor and let them know where you’ll be traveling, how long you plan to stay there, and what sort of activities you plan on taking part in. When you reveal this information to your doctor you’ll be able to work together to come up with a vaccination plan that will protect you from the illnesses you need protection from.

Routine childhood vaccines should definitely be current when you consider traveling anywhere. Many people believe that diseases like mumps are gone, but when you are not vaccinated for such a disease, you’ll find that it is still very much alive and well. So, to start with be sure that your childhood vaccinations are up to date. Vaccinations your doctor might think about giving you include yellow fever, typhoid, meningococcal, pneumovax, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chicken pox, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, influenza, and Japanese encephalitis. Don’t worry, unless you’ve never had any vaccinations it’s likely that you will not need the majority of these vaccines, but they are all things that your doctor will consider when he or she looks at your history as well as your travel plans.


Some of the less common vaccines for every day life are yellow fever, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, typhoid fever, and rabies. These vaccines will be given only when necessary. Yellow fever is a vaccine that must be considered when you are traveling to countries that lie within a yellow fever zone, or for travelers coming from an endemic area. When you speak to your doctor he or she will be able to determine where these areas are. Immunization for hepatitis B is usually considered for travelers who will be visiting and interacting with populations that have a high rate of the disease. Japanese encephalitis will typically be given to travelers, who plan to spend long periods of time in Southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent during what are known as the transmission seasons. Typhoid fever immunizations are usually given to travelers that may be eating and drinking contaminated items. Typhoid fever is often given as a precaution, not because the doctor believes the area is known for the illness. Pre-exposure rabies vaccinations are usually given to individuals that are traveling to areas that might involve animals or their actions may attract animals.


When you discuss vaccines with your doctor, you should be sure and ask about side effects associated with each of the vaccines. Many vaccines have harmless side effects and others are more serious. Knowing the possible side effects that can be caused by the vaccinations will allow you to prevent a serious reaction and will also allow you to plan a vaccine schedule so you are not under the weather when it comes time to travel to your international destination.


Vaccines are a very important part of international travel. When you travel to new areas you will likely be exposed to new cultures, customs, sights, and amazing memories, but with that comes the risk of serious illness. Planning ahead and receiving any relevant vaccinations is a great way to make your trip the best possible by avoiding illness. Vaccines do not promise that you won’t contract other illnesses, but it’s a good start to a great trip. Pair vaccines with knowledge about health risks and you will likely have a very happy and healthy trip.

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