So, you’re all set to travel the world and fulfill your wildest dreams. You might have even prepared your travel checklist well in advance! Things such as your flight & hotel booking, activities, places to visit, and more; but have you visited your healthcare provider to get travel vaccinations? If your travel list also includes exploring developing countries, then you should be concerned about exposing yourself to dangerous tropical diseases and bringing them back to your home country.
If you’ve never been informed about travel vaccines, fear not! You’ve landed on the right page. In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about travel vaccinations. Everything from the different types of travel vaccines, knowing the right time to get your vaccines done, and more. The Travel Clinic NYC is here to help make your travels safer and easier.
What Are Travel Vaccinations?
Travel vaccinations or travel immunizations are shots that travelers need to get before traveling to certain parts of the world, especially to the disease-prone countries to protect themselves against these illnesses. If you’re someone who grew up in a Western country like the United States, you don’t need to worry about contracting a fatal tropical disease. All children born in the United States are immunized at birth. If you wish to travel abroad however, you must get vaccinations done to help boost your immune system.
Typically, vaccinations provide protection when your body gets exposed to certain germs. There are several dangerous diseases throughout the world, and most of them flourish around the tropics if that’s one of your destinations, you must protect yourself from these unseen afflictions. Luckily, there are plenty of vaccinations available to offer protection against most illnesses. Besides being an effective way to protect travelers from carrying the germs in the home country, travel vaccines are also very safe. If you’re planning to travel the world, it is highly recommended to get them a few weeks before your travel date.
The Most Common and Important Travel Vaccinations
Hepatitis A and B
• Hepatitis A is a liver infection that is generally spread through contaminated food, water, and physical contact. It is very hard to avoid Hepatitis A or B, because there is no easy way to determine whether the food or water you’re consuming is free from harmful bacterias. Therefore, it is recommended to visit a clinic and get travel vaccinations done prior to your travel date.
• Hepatitis B may transfer from one person to another through infected body fluid. This includes blood to blood contact, sexual transmission, and infected medical equipment. If you’re traveling to the developing countries, you’re likely to get infected with Hepatitis B. The symptoms of hepatitis B are almost similar to hepatitis A. These symptoms include rashes, fevers, joint pain, and jaundice. In some cases, hepatitis B may also cause permanent liver damage and liver cancer.
The Diphtheria/Tetanus/Polio Vaccine
Diphtheria is a highly contagious respiratory disease, which is usually contracted from inhaling water vapor of an infected person, when they sneeze, cough, or breath around you.
Tetanus is a toxin that is transferred through spores, and you get the disease when these spores enter a wound that you get by injury. In simple words, if you get bitten by a wild animal or cut yourself, you should immediately get a tetanus shot to prevent yourself from contracting the disease.
Luckily, nowadays, polio has almost extinct all because of the polio vaccine. Generally, polio is contracted via contaminated food and water. In 90% of cases, people show no symptoms of polio, while 8% of people experience mild flu-like symptoms, and only 2% will experience bladder dysfunction, paralysis, impaired breathing, swallowing, and speech.
You usually get a combination vaccine of diphtheria, tetanus and polio to protect yourself against these diseases at once, and you’ll get booster vaccines in the future.
While rabies mostly infects animals, humans can also get it if an infected bat, dog, and monkey bite them. Once an infected animal bites you, the virus from the animal’s saliva is then transferred to you. The common symptoms you exhibit include convulsions, diaphragm spasms, and cardiac or respiratory arrest. If you fail to get yourself treated within a few days of being bitten by an infected animal, you may die.
The Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine
You get Japanese Encephalitis through the bite of a mosquito, which is commonly found in rice paddles, and on birds, pigs, and the Siberian stork. In certain cases, Japanese Encephalitis exhibits no symptoms, however, some people can get meningitis, fever, encephalitis, and paralysis. Recovery from Japanese Encephalitis is slow, and people commonly experience long-term physical weakness. Nearly 30% of children die from Japanese Encephalitis. Although it is quite a fatal disease, the good news is that it’s rare, which means it’s not always necessary to the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine.
The Yellow Fever Vaccine
It is interesting to learn about the yellow fever vaccine, because it is one of the mandatory vaccinations that people must take before boarding, especially to South America or Sub-Saharan Africa. If your travel list includes these destinations, then you must get yourself vaccinated to protect against yellow fever. Most countries with yellow fever usually require you to have a certificate of vaccine to enter into the country, and even your home country will require you to provide proof that you’re vaccinated to return back.
Yellow fever is a fatal disease that is transferred through mosquitoes, so you must get yourself vaccinated for protection against yellow fever. The common symptoms of yellow fever include muscle aches, fever, dizziness, nausea, vomiting blood, a red face, liver and kidney failure, bleeding from the mouth, nose, and eyes, and seizures/coma. In severe cases, yellow fever can lead to death.
Typhoid is spread through contaminated drink and food. The main symptoms of typhoid are headache, fever, abdominal pain, confusion, constipation, and rash. Plus, typhoid fever can cause death, so you need to avoid it as soon as possible. If you’re traveling to the tropics, you must get typhoid vaccine, as it is very common there.
Travel Vaccines According To The Place You’re Visiting
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of travel vaccinations, but you must be wondering which one to get for your upcoming international vacation. Don’t be fret! To help you determine which is the right vaccination for you, we’ve explained vaccine requirement depending on the place you’re visiting.
• Tetanus. It is common across the world. So, you must get the tetanus vaccine no matter which is your travel destination.
• Polio. Nowadays, polio is a very rare disease. However, you need to get polio shots if you’re traveling to Nigeria, Afghanistan, or Pakistan.
• Diphtheria. Like tetanus, it is also found worldwide, and usually, you get vaccinated against it during your childhood. Make sure you check it with your healthcare provider.
• Hepatitis A. It is quite common in countries with low levels of sanitation. If you’re considering a trip to any countries in the tropics, you should get hepatitis A vaccine.
• Hepatitis B. It is common in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, Latin America, and Africa as well the Caribbean. Get yourself vaccinated against hepatitis B if you’re traveling to any of these countries.
• Japanese B Encephalitis. It can occur after the rainy season in regions of Nepal, China, northern Burma, northern Sri Lanka, eastern and southern states of India, northern Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.
• Rabies. You have a greater risk of rabies in Africa, Asia, and South America.
• Typhoid. Although typhoid is present worldwide, it is more common where water and food usually get contaminated with sewage, such as in Africa, South America, and most parts of Asia.
• Yellow Fever. Yellow fever is found in South America and tropical Africa. However, you’re required to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter certain countries.
When Is The Right Time To Get Vaccinations?
So, now you must have got a good idea of which vaccines you need. It is the right time to plan your vaccination schedule. Here we’ve explained how long you need to wait before leaving to get vaccinated.
• Hepatitis A and B. Generally, hepatitis A and B require two doses within a 30 day period, and provides you with protection for up to one year. 6 to 12 months later, you can get a booster vaccination that will provide you with protection for 20 or more years. It is usually recommended to have the first shot 6 months before you board so that you’ll be able to complete the full course of these vaccinations.
• Japanese B Encephalitis. For this, you’re required to have three doses on days 0, 7-14 and 28, which will provide you immunity for one month after your final dose.
• Rabies. You have rabies shots on days 0, 7, 21-28. Later, you can get a booster every 2-3 years.
• Typhoid. In case of typhoid, one dose will offer protection for three years.
• Yellow Fever. Yellow fever vaccine is usually given 10 days before leaving as well as you get the certification to enter the country. It is a live vaccine, so it should be given on the same day like other live vaccines, or with three weeks difference.
Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting yourself from any unseen dangers like disease. You should always be up to date with your vaccinations. If you’re traveling to a disease-prone country, travel vaccines are a must to help keep yourself, your family, your friends, and others protected. Be a smarter traveler. Get vaccinated!
Get Vaccinated Before You Go!
Contact The Travel Clinic NYC before you go on that once in a lifetime trip. Your family, your friends, and your body will thank you. Call for an appointment or general information today at (212) 686-5835 and be prepared for all of your journeys ahead.