Foreign Travel Vaccinations
Many people become worried about the vaccinations they’ll need before their next trip so much so that they don’t even book! It’s easy enough to find out what vaccinations are required, recommended, and optional for most parts of the world you’ll be headed to. Some of the common vaccinations are against yellow fever and malaria and most people don’t have serious reactions to any of the medications. You’ll want to begin researching and getting your medication 4-6 weeks prior to departure as some medicines require that amount of time to build up to effective levels in the blood.
What Vaccinations Do You Need?
You can get a complete list of the vaccinations that are required to enter a country on the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. You’ll want to also check what your home country requires for your return and also any countries you plan on visiting along the way (i.e. CDC travel Kenya). You may also want to consider foreign travel insurance if you happen to be visiting an area where communicable diseases are prevalent or if you are sensitive to certain medications and worried you may have a reaction while on the road.
Once you have an idea of what vaccinations you need, you can make an appointment with your doctor to get the required shots. Check with your insurance company to see what they will cover and if you’re not insured shop around to find out the prices. Some clinics may cater to those without insurance and you might be able to find lower prices on your medication by getting the required shots there. Typically, however, immunizations and foreign travel vaccinations are common and therefore not very expensive. Finally, you’ll want to remember certain things like pregnancy can affect immunizations and whether or not you can be given certain vaccinations so make sure to mention your recent medical history accurately to your doctor.
Your doctor will want to see evidence that you are up to date on all of your basic vaccinations and if there is any question will likely re-administer them to be sure you are covered. International Health Regulations require yellow fever vaccinations for all travelers to sub-Saharan Africa as well as meningococcal vaccinations for those traveling to Saudi Arabia during the month-long Hajj.
vaccinations last approximately 10 years and can be administered easily with a single shot. Meningococcal vaccinations have a slightly more complicated schedule for children (every 3 years) and adults (2-6 years, although varies based on risk and exposure). Many travelers also ask about malaria which can be prevented with the use of anti-bug and mosquito spray since that is how it is primarily spread. Travelers can also take anti-malarial pills a few weeks beforehand or a shot. The pills tend to cause nausea and either method isn’t full proof. Also if you do happen to get malaria, it can be cured if you are treated relatively early so lookout for the warning signs and see a doctor if you experience severe chills, aches, or fever.