You’ve booked your flight and renewed your passport, but have you visited the doctor for any necessary travel vaccinations? It may seem like a strange step in preparing for an international trip, but it is a critical element to keeping yourself healthy when visiting certain countries. These travel vaccines are different from the usual ones recommended during your annual physical, like the flu shot. They have a very specific purpose: to protect you from contracting conditions like the measles—which are more prominent abroad than they are in the United States—as well as prevent the spread of infectious diseases when you come back home.
Here are some of the most common travel-related diseases for which vaccines are offered and recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Typhoid and paratyphoid fever
- Meningococcal disease
- Yellow Fever
- Japanese Encephalitis
Which travel vaccines you need depends on where you’re traveling to and what you plan to do there. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains up-to-date regulations and tips for those preparing to travel abroad. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) keeps a list of routine and required vaccinations for international travel as well as other travel health precautions and considerations. If you need a special vaccine, consult your primary care physician or a travel health specialist four to six weeks before travel. Why so far in advance? Some of the required vaccines entail a series of shots and your body will need time to build immunity.
For more information on your health care while traveling, check out these blog posts:
- Traveling This Year? How to Find the Right Medical Care on the Road
- How Do Vaccines Actually Work? A Pharmacist Explains
- Midwest Measles Outbreak: How to Protect Yourself and Your Family
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