Do You Really Need to Get Vaccinated Before Traveling?2 min read
Getting vaccinated may sound like an extra nuisance when planning a big trip, but you shouldn’t let it fall to the wayside. In some cases, that vaccine just might save your life and help curb the spread of harmful diseases.
Although certain illnesses have been eradicated in many parts of the world, they may still exist in other countries. Additionally, certain regions might increase your exposure to diseases that are uncommon in your home country. Malaria, for example, is a disease that doesn’t threaten many parts of the world, but thrives in warm, underdeveloped countries, such as Haiti or Honduras.
Even if you’re not traveling far, flying or cruising with people from all over the world can expose you to illnesses from afar as well.
Pretty scary, huh?
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to get vaccinated; all it takes is a trip to your doctor’s office, a travel clinic, or even a pharmacy.
However, it’s important that you receive any necessary vaccinations as early as possible. Ideally, you should get vaccinated four to six weeks before your trip since it takes time for them to kick in and provide protection. Additionally, certain vaccines might need to be administered in a series, which can take a few days or weeks.
If you’re going on a last-minute trip and are worried you won’t have enough time to get vaccinated, it’s important that you still see your doctor. The vaccine may still provide some level of protection and your doctor can at least advise you on how to stay healthy while traveling.
So how do you know what vaccines you’ll need?
According to the CDC, there are three different types of vaccines for travelers: routine, recommended, and required. In the United States, for example, routine vaccines are administered to children and adults to protect against harmful diseases. Even if you’ve already been vaccinated for a certain disease, you may still require a “booster shot” for additional protection.
Recommended vaccines are not mandatory, but are often administered to protect travelers from illnesses in certain parts of the world and prevent diseases from spreading into other countries.
However, there are some countries that require travelers to get vaccinated in order to enter the country—and that’s a big deal. You definitely don’t want to arrive at your destination only to turn around again because you neglected to get vaccinated. If you’re not sure what type of vaccine you’ll need, your doctor will determine this by considering a variety of factors, including where you’re going, the season, your age, your health status, and your vaccination history.
So, the answer to the question is YES; one or two vaccinations are definitely worth protecting your health.
Image from Wake Up Call News.