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Travel Immunizations - What You Need Before You Go

Shot-savvy travelers don't leave health to chance

While most countries don't require mandatory vaccinations before allowing access, it's better to be prepared and protect yourself rather than take chances with your health. The need for vaccinations depend on more than just what country Afraid of needles?Afraid of needles?and area you are visiting though. Your age, the season, your health and what vaccines you have had before are all important considerations.  If you're not sure what you need, your doctor is the best place to start.

Common Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: Potentially fatal inflammation that affects the liver's ability to function.  Usually contracted through contaminated food or water. Canada, United States, Australia and some parts of Europe are low risk countries for Hepatitis A, so if you're traveling outside of these countries it's a good idea to get vaccinated.

  • Get vaccinated 4 weeks before leaving
  • Booster shot is recommended 6 - 12 months after vaccination

Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is usually contracted through contact with blood or blood derived fluids. Unprotected sex or sharing needles with someone who is has HBV are the obvious risks, but needing medical care in some parts of Africa, Asia and parts of South America can ramp up the risk astronomically.  If you're planning on living or staying in these destinations for longer periods of time, get vaccinated.

  • Get vaccinated 45 - 60 days before leaving.

Typhoid Fever:  Usually transmitted by ingesting food Locked UpLocked Upor water that's been contaminated with feces of an infected person. If Africa, South Asia, Central and South America or the Caribbean are on your travel radar, you'll need this one.

  • Get vaccinated 3 weeks before leaving
  • The vaccinations are only 50-80% effective, so it's not a get out of jail free card.
  

Malaria:  Malaria can become life threatening if not treated and is transferred from mosquito bites. There is no current vaccine available to completely protect against the disease, so mosquito repellent and anti-malaria tablets are your best form of protection. If you're visiting Africa, Asia or South America your chances of infection are highest.

  • Apply mosquito repellent frequently, especially while on an excursion.
  • Take pills exactly as instructed, even if this means continuing the dosage after returning from vacation.  

Meningococcal Disease: A fatal bacterial infection that has a 50% mortality rate. If contracted, seek medical help immediately. Outbreaks occur most in Sub Saharan Africa (Mali to Ethiopia), making vaccination mandatory if you are visiting this area.

  • Get vaccinated 2 weeks before leaving.
      

Tuberculosis: TB is an airborne illness, so if someone near you has it and coughs, you could end up with it. Potentially fatal, this disease causes millions of deaths each year in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and Eastern Europe.

  • Get vaccinated 6 weeks before leaving for vacation.
  • Most people in North America are immunized during childhood.

Yellow Fever:   Fatal in 50% of cases, Yellow Fever is contracted through infected mosquitoes. Central Africa (Sub Saharan Africa Area) and South America including Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela are regions most affected by Yellow Fever. The Vaccine is almost 100% effective and lasts up to 10 years. International Health Regulations allow some countries to make you show proof of vaccination before entry is permitted.

  • Get vaccinated 10 days before leaving on vacation.
  • Have your proof of vaccination with your documentation.

Whether you are taking a cruise or moving to another country, a vaccination can be the difference between a life changing vacation and an end of life experience. Be safe and protect yourself. Research the country you're visiting before you leave, and check out the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention before planning your trip.

Have you had your shots?

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Comments

Yes i totally agree a must have, please do not travel without!!

I would never risk not having vaccinations, you here some awful stories.

Vaccinations are a must have, do not risk going to places like Africa without them!

Vaccinations are so important, especially for children, they really are a must have, do njot take the risk. You really can pick up some nasty things.

This is something really important that most people just neglect and end up putting up a lot of health related issues. Having a clear idea about the weather conditions of the places to visit and a proper medical examination before leaving always keeps the risks off.

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