Vaccines: A shot at staying healthy while you travel
“TRAVEL can threaten health in a number of ways, especially when travelers visit countries that have endemic disease,” wrote Pharmacy Times.
Before taking off to some unfamiliar part of the world, it’s advisable to head to your doctor’s office to get the necessary vaccines. Because let’s face it, nobody wants to fall seriously ill on a holiday while trekking a lesser-known path or exposing oneself to exotic wildlife and run the risk of spending a fortune on medical bills if it can be prevented.
Despite what you think, everyone needs vaccines, be it a child or an adult.
Vaccines, also known as immunizations, are shots that travelers can get to protect them from illnesses. How do these shots work?
By simply injecting severely weakened or dead germs, parts of germs or the disease it will protect against into your body, your body will produce antibodies to fight off the disease in the future. Thus, travel vaccines are safe and effective ways to help protect travelers from bringing home more than they bargained for.
Staying up to date with routine vaccines, the standard child and adult immunizations, is equally as important as getting the recommended vaccines before you travel. Routine vaccines are for diseases that are common where you’re from such as tetanus, measles, etc.
Recommended vaccines, on the other hand, are localized to the region that you’re going to such as the yellow fever vaccine for certain parts of Africa and South America, and the meningococcal vaccine for the Hajj (annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca).
Rabies, for example, is present on all continents except Antarctica and is almost always fatal, with over 95 percent of human deaths occurring in Asia and Africa.
Here’s a list of recommended vaccines for travelers:
- Hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis E.
- Typhoid fever.
- Meningococcal disease.
- Tick-borne encephalitis.
- Yellow fever (required by Saudi Arabia).
- Japanese encephalitis.
If you’re unsure, search up on your destination’s news (Google is your best friend) for any outbreaks that you should be worried about or refer to the up-to-date travel advisories from World Health Organization (WHO) or your local government body then forward your concerns to your doctor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, for example, advises travelers to Singapore to get Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, and Rabies shots.
Vaccines will cost some money, but likely just a fraction of the price of a ruined holiday. If you can buy travel insurance to protect your luggage, why not your health?
So have a shot (or two) for the road and stay healthy abroad.