Travel Immunization

Why Do the Travelers Need Vaccinations Before a Trip?

Vaccines are a medical weapon that ensures a reliable protection against many dangerous diseases. Since you are going to travel outside the United States, there is a high risk that your body will be attacked with the pathogenic agents, which you can’t typically find across the United States. There are also vaccines which are obligatory for people, traveling to appropriate countries.

When you undergo vaccination before traveling, you are sure to ensure your security and save your health and even life. Also, getting vaccinated before your trips, you will prevent the contamination of your family members and other people who surround you.

The intake of OTC fat burners and any other natural remedies is not an impediment to the vaccination for travelers. So, you can safely get a required vaccines and still continue taking the supplements. But anyway, the choice of vaccines you have to get prior to the journey is determined by the following factors:

  • Place of Destination: There are the countries which demand the confirmation of vaccination for a specified list of diseases because there is an increased probability of dealing with some disease-producing agents. This especially refers to visiting the developing countries.
  • State of Health: Poor immune system functioning, current treatment of a certain medical condition or pregnancy may require getting some extra vaccines.
  • Current Vaccination Schedule: You should always abide by your own vaccination schedule and never break it. Routine vaccines can also effectively protect your health during traveling.

Vaccination is typically necessary no later than 4 to 6 weeks prior you are embarking on a journey. This time is required in order a vaccine could advance into action and guarantee a reliable protection during your trip.

Why to Vaccinate in Advance

When you are planning your journey outside the United States, you should first of all schedule the family physician’s appointment and inform your doctor about your intention to travel abroad.
The healthcare practitioner will appraise your current state of health and discuss with you the necessity for travel vaccination.

In your turn, you should tell the doctor about all prescription medications, OTC appetite suppressants, and other remedies you may take at the moment. Then you must vaccinate to get ready for a trip. This should be done not right before you leave the country but obligatorily in advance for a number of reasons:

  • The process of immunity buildup after the vaccination takes some time, usually up to a month.
  • The vaccination may require a few shots which have to be done within several weeks in order the vaccine could start protecting your body properly.
  • The general practitioner may have no expertise in travel vaccination and therefore will refer you to a special travel medical clinic that specializes in providing travel vaccination services.
  • It may take some time to schedule the pre-travel appointment, so it shouldn’t be delayed till the last moment.
  • If you are going to travel to the country where a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory, you should be aware that far not all clinics vaccinate the travelers for yellow fever. It means you may not find the appropriate clinic too close to the place of your living. You will need some time to get to such a clinic. So don’t forget that the vaccination for a yellow fever has to be got no later than 10 days prior to the journey.

What to Do When You Return

The preparation for traveling in the form of travel vaccination is of course very important. But it’s also often not less important to take appropriate measures when you come back home from your journey.
Thus, when you return from another country, especially from the developing countries and exotic destinations, the first thing you should do is to visit your healthcare provider.

You shouldn’t postpone this visit even provided that you got all necessary vaccines before your trip. The matter is that the risk of being affected with some infectious disease, even though it’s not a life-threatening disease, in the foreign country always remains.

When you come to your family physician, you should inform the doctor about all the crucial details concerning your travel destinations provided that this information may be crucial in a particular case. And this is especially significant if you feel any symptoms and suspect that you may be affected with any infection.

In this case, the doctor will immediately do a physical exam and special tests to estimate your state of health and determine whether you are a carrier of a particular infection. In this case, the doctor will be able to take the timely measures in order to start your treatment as soon as possible and hence save your health and even life as well as effectively ensure the prevention of infectious medical condition spread.

What to Do if You Get Sick after Travel

Though it’s generally recommended to anyway schedule the doctor’s appointment after you return from your journey even if you don’t feel any symptoms like headache, vomiting, etc., this step is absolutely obligatory in some cases. Thus, if once getting home you start experiencing difficulty breathing, skin issues, loose stools, fever or any other health problems, you have to request medical assistance immediately.

You have to inform your healthcare provider about the details of your recent trip. And the information about any medications and carb blockers you take will also not go amiss. Based on the information you provide the healthcare practitioner can estimate which infectious diseases you might caught.

Among others, if you feel sick after travel, you have to tell your doctor:

  • What vaccines you got
  • What activities (excursions, medical work, missionary work, etc.) you were engaged in
  • What the duration of your trip was
  • What the place of your staying (hotel, apartments, camping, private home) was
  • What food and water you consumed
  • Whether there were the episodes of insect or animal bites, scratches or licks
  • Whether you had the experience of fresh water swimming
  • Whether and what medical procedures you underwent in other country
  • Whether you were subject to any other ways of infection transmission such as skin invasions, tattoos, piercing, sexual intercourses, etc.

Besides a visit to a family practitioner, you may also need to consult a travel medicine specialist or an infectiologist. Your general physician may suggest you where you can find a highly qualified travel medicine doctor.

What Else to Consider

Even if you return home and feel good at the moment, you should still take serious precautions against malaria.

Malaria is an unsafe tropical infectious disease transmitted via Anopheles mosquito bites. Plasmodium parasites are the infectious agents which actually afflict humans. It’s a dangerous disease that even can lead to death. Even when you are already far away from the region where malaria commonly occurs and use the medically approved testosterone boosters, it’s crucial to further undergo the pharmaceutical therapy with the prescription antimalarial medications. You have to do this:

  • Weekly within 4 weeks in case of using mefloquine, chloroquine or doxycycline
  • Daily within 7 days in case of using primaquine or atovaquone/proguanil
  • One weekly medication dosage in case of using tafenoquine

You should know that the development of malaria symptoms may happen not only within a month, but also within a year after the infectious agent invades into the body. If you feel sickness with flu-like symptoms up to one year after traveling to the country where malaria is widespread, you have to instantly see a doctor and inform a medical expert where you were traveling. Since malaria is a dangerous disease, a healthcare provider has to first of all exclude the existence of this disease.

How to Prepare for Pre-Travel Vaccination Appointment

The range of things you should inform your healthcare provider about is in fact quite long since the medical expert requires much information for the provision of the most suitable health-protecting travel recommendations. You should have the answers to the variety of questions prior the doctor’s appointment.

  • When will your trip happen and what will be the duration of your stay in each place abroad?
  • What is the place of your destination?
    • What countries are you planning to travel to?
    • If you plan your trip to two or more countries, which country will be first and which ones will be then visited?
    • What locations will you visit inside the targeted countries?
    • Will you stay in rural or urban areas?
    • What conditions will you choose for sleeping (available or absent air conditioning, open-air tents or hotel rooms, etc.)
    • Will you travel alone or with family members/friends?
  • What kind of activities will you be engaged in while traveling (for example, skiing, diving, rock climbing, canoe touring, sightseeing, etc.?
  • Have you ever been abroad previously?
    • What countries did you visit?
    • When did your trip take place?
  • What age are you?
  • What is your immunization history?
    • Can you bring with you the vaccination records confirming the availability of important vaccinations in the past?
    • When did you get vaccine shots?
    • What number of a certain vaccine shots did you get? (Thus, there are the vaccines like measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, hepatitis A vaccine or hepatitis B vaccine which demand several doses to ensure the long-lasting health-safeguarding effects).
    • Have you ever faced the issue of allergic reactions to any vaccines?
  • Do you suffer from any kind of allergies (for instance, foods, beverages, environmental pollutants, medications, HGH supplements or other natural remedies)?
    • Particularly, do you have allergic reactions to latex, thimerosal, mercury, yeast, lactose, or eggs.
  • What history of medical conditions do you have and do you suffer from any diseases at the present moment? Do you have overweight/obesity and take prescription anti-obesity medications or natural weight loss pills? Do you have any chronic medical conditions and comorbidities? Have you ever undergone surgical procedures and when if yes? This information about your current state of health is very crucial for a doctor who is going to manage your travel vaccination.
  • What prescription drugs do you use or have used within the previous 3 months?
  • Do you have any problems with the immune system?
  • If you are a woman,
    • Are you pregnant at the present moment?
    • Do you have an intention to conceive or will you have an intention to conceive within the following 3 months?
    • Are you breastfeeding?

Typhoid

Typhoid fever is an infectious disease that develops after the contamination with the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. The bacteria afflict the body and causes life-endangering symptoms.
It’s almost impossible to get affected with typhoid in the US as well as in Japan, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe. But if you are going to have a trip to the Caribbean region, South America, Middle East, South Asia, Africa, and some European countries, you have to get vaccinated against typhoid.

Typhoid infection spreads when the contaminated feces further contaminate food and water which people may consume and hence get infected.

Typhoid vaccine is accessible in oral and injectable forms. The medical specialist will inform you which type of vaccine is the best in your particular case. But you have to anyway remember that the typhoid vaccine provides just 50-80% protection against the disease. That’s why you have to be very careful when choosing food and water in the countries where typhoid is widespread even provide that that you got a vaccine shot.

In different countries, there are different requirements for the oral vaccine doses. Typically, there are multiple oral vaccine doses which have to be administered every year for people frequently visiting the regions with high typhoid prevalence.

As for typhoid vaccine shots, there should be only one intramuscular injection. The vaccination has to be repeated every 3 years to ensure better protection.

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