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Health Education Blog

How To Know If You Need Special Vaccines Before Traveling Abroad

Posted by Staff on June 28, 2017

passport and vaccine travel documents - ThinkstockPhotos-140260217.jpgPlanning a trip abroad can be very exciting. Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, visiting a foreign country is an adventure. This is especially true if you have never traveled outside the country. There are certain foreign countries, however, where visiting can be dangerous unless you get the necessary immunizations.

Many vaccine preventable diseases that are rare in the United States today, such as pertussis and measles are still common in other parts of the world. Without the necessary immunizations, your trip could go from being an exciting adventure to a fight for your life.

Who Is at Risk When Traveling?

Whether or not you're at risk for developing any diseases while traveling abroad is based on a few things:

  • The area of the world that you're planning to travel

  • The current state of your health and the strength of your immune system

  • Your vaccination history

  • The activities you're planning during your trip (Attending crowded events for example, can increase the risk of spreading an infectious disease)

How Do I Know What Shots I Need?

Since there are some countries that require vaccinations and there are some that don't, it can be very confusing when you're planning a trip. If you aren't sure if you are going to need shots, there are a few places that you can get the answers.

  • Clinic: A travel clinic or Orchard Hospital's Medical Specialty Center - Your Everyday Health Care Clinic would have the information necessary regarding the vaccines that you're going to need.

  • The Center For Disease Control (CDC): The CDC has a website where you can get the necessary information. The site will ask you where you're going, and whether you're traveling with children, if you're pregnant or have a chronic disease, and other choices to give the CDC an idea of the circumstances of your trip. After you have made your selection, you will be given a list of the necessary immunizations.

  • Hospitals: At Orchard Hospital, you can receive all of the information that you will need regarding the necessary immunizations for traveling. The CDC's website also has a section for clinicians should the hospital have any questions regarding the necessary immunizations.

When Should I Be Immunized?

According to the CDC, you should make an appointment with a healthcare professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before you leave for your trip. There are several things that need to be done and it can take weeks.

  • Depending on where you're planning to travel, you may need to complete a series of vaccines. Also, your body will need time to build up immunity.

  • You'll need to get your own immunization records and make sure that you are up to date on all of your regular vaccines such as MMR before you travel.

  • Many countries require that you have a yellow fever certificate. This certificate needs to be stamped at least 10 days before you travel. Since there are only certain registered providers that can offer this vaccine, you should start the process of finding a doctor and getting the certificate as soon as possible.

Travel Vaccine Checklist

There are certain vaccines that are common when you're traveling. According to WebMDthe following travel vaccines are the most common.

Booster shots:

You should make sure that you are up to date on the following immunizations:

  • Tetanus

  • Diphtheria

  • Pertussis

Travel vaccines:

There are several common travel vaccines that are necessary. Some depend on where you're traveling and others are common regardless of where you are traveling.

  • Yellow Fever Vaccine: This is required if you're traveling to certain parts of South America and Africa. The CDC has recently called an Alert Level 2 in Brazil, which means that the danger of developing yellow fever in Brazil is very high.

  • Meningococcal Vaccine: If you're traveling to Saudi Arabia you may need this vaccine. It's even more important if you're traveling during the haji, which is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

  • Hepatitis A

  • Hepatitis B

  • Rabies

  • Typhoid and paratyphoid fever

  • Japanese Encephalitis

It's important to understand that getting vaccines in not a one-size-fits-all situation. The vaccinations that you will need depend on a variety of factors. If you are traveling with a companion and your health and medical situations differ, you might need shots that your traveling companion doesn't. You would need to speak with a medical professional to determine what immunizations would be necessary.

The best way to stay safe and healthy during a trip abroad is to get the necessary vaccines before you leave. The last thing that you want is for a fun and exciting adventure to turn into a deadly situation.  When you start planning early, you can be sure that you will have all the necessary vaccines before you leave for your trip.

Visit the health clinic at Orchard Hospital to see if you're up to date on your vaccinations. Walk-ins are welcome at our Gridley and Oroville Medical Specialty Centers – Your Everyday Health Care Clinic or schedule and appointment below.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

Our mission at Orchard Hospital is to provide our community with superior healthcare. We strive to ensure that your experience at Orchard Hospital is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Our priority is to provide you with the care you need when you need it, with skill, compassion, and respect.  

Topics: Vaccines, Travel

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This blog is the place to find general healthcare information, news and updates, as well as ways Orchard Hospital can help!


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