Getting vaccinated before traveling abroad or to remote regions within the country, is not just a smart move but an essential one too. Know these travel immunization ‘must-do’s’ for a good health cover through the trip.
Just as you start working on your itinerary before traveling, there is another important aspect you need to take care of – getting all information on travel related medication and vaccination required.
The following points will help you streamline your efforts and help you be medically well prepared before travelling:
Consult your Doctor:
Whenever you are planning to travel abroad, you must consult your doctor at least four to six weeks in advance. If it is sudden trip, speaking to your doctor should top your list of “to do things” before travel. However, if you are someone who is always on the move you must speak to your doc regarding a vaccination and medicine schedule.You must remember that:
Travel and vaccine trivia:
Did you know that some of the common diseases which one might contact while travelling without vaccination are- polio, Hepatitis –A, Japanese B Encepahlitis, Typhoid, tetanus, Hepatitis B, etc.
Did you know that you can contact tetanus and typhoid anywhere in the world if not vaccinated; irrespective of the fact that you are in a developed or developing nation.
During travel the most common cause of disease infection are infected food and water.
- Different vaccines take different periods of time to become effective in our bodies. This might vary from a few days to even weeks at times.
- Based upon your place of travel and your past vaccination record, your medical advisor will tell you the type of vaccines you might require.
Know your travel vaccines by categories:
All vaccines are categorized into three types broadly – routine vaccines, required vaccines and recommended vaccines.
- Routine travel vaccines are those that provide protection from common diseases found in many parts of the world. It is easy to get protection from these diseases if you have had your regular shots and your vaccination schedule is up to date.
- Recommended travel vaccines are the ones suggested especially by doctors to travelers in order to protect them from diseases, prevalent specifically in and around their travel destination. These vaccinations are a must not just for your personal safety but also help prevent infectious diseases from spreading from one part of the world to another. Vaccines are recommended keeping in mind – your destination, time of travel, season of travel, your health condition, your age, time to be spent, type of area to be visited-rural or urban and your past immunization record.
- Required vaccines are the ones which have been mentioned as necessary by International Health Regulations before travel to certain parts of the world. For e.g. - Yellow fever vaccine is a must before travelling to Sub-Sahahran Africa and tropical South America. Similarly, Meningococcal vaccine against Meningitis is a required vaccination as per instructions from the Saudi Arabia government before people travel during Hajj to these areas.
Inform if travelling with a compromised immune system:
If you are suffering from certain diseases which compromise your immune system or you are under medication for certain diseases that have weakened your immune system making you more vulnerable to infections while travelling; you must discuss your travel plans, duration and destinations in detail with your doctor. Some such diseases which might require you or someone travelling with you to take special precautions and vaccinations are: HIV, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases and disorders, people who are undergoing cancer treatments, chronic asthma, chronic renal and liver disorders etc.
Inform if pregnant or breast feeding:
Your doctor must know if you are pregnant or breast feeding at the time of planning your travel. This is because, while vaccines can be given to pregnant and breast feeding women, they are best avoided under normal circumstances. Also, doctors usually do not suggest travel before the second trimester. Since travelling during pregnancy puts both mother and baby at risk of infectious diseases, your doctor might suggest some vaccines before travel, if travel is unavoidable. Some vaccines which can be given to pregnant women are- Hepatitis –A, Hepatitis-B, Influenza and Tetanus.
Inform if travelling with infants or kids:
Your doctor must know if you are travelling with kids. While the usual vaccination schedule of kids usually covers most of the probable disease infections; it is still advisable to discuss with your pediatrician, if any extra vaccines are required.
Take these small little health related precautions to make your travel disease free and memorable.