Vaccinations and Staying Healthy Around The World

It is very important to ensure that your vaccinations are current before you travel, especially if your route will take you into high risk areas. Unfortunately, many diseases that have been eradicated in the west are still prevalent in some developing nations. Each country will have a list of requirements (and also some recommendations) for vaccinations, and it is important that these be administered within the appropriate time frame before travel.

Common vaccines required for many areas including parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, include typhoid, hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, dengue fever, diphtheria, cholera, Japanese encephalitis, meningitis, tetanus, rabies and malaria. Some of these may need to be undertaken several weeks before travelling, so do find out more about these early in your holiday planning stages. Many travellers will have been vaccinated for various diseases, such as influenza, mumps or measles, already, but it is still necessary to check the latest health monitors for all countries.

There is a required time-frame before travel in which you should receive the vaccines and there may be a cost involved for this in some countries. Most governments have a departmental website with travel health information, warnings and other facts relevant to any given country. Local doctors’ surgeries should also have a list of what countries require what vaccinations and will be able to advise accordingly. Please note that some countries will require proof of the yellow fever vaccination (especially some African countries) before you will be allowed access on arrival or possibly departure from your own country. In such a case, you will need a certificate of vaccination from a physician.

Once vaccinated, there are a few other methods that can be used to keep yourself healthy whilst abroad. These precautionary measures can be as important as the vaccination itself:

  • Frequent hand washing and thorough drying are necessary during any travel, anywhere.
  • Remember to obtain and carry any medication that you usually take; also a letter from your doctor explaining what your prescription is and authorising you to travel with it.
  • It is also good practice in some countries to drink only bottled water, not eat vegetables or fruit washed locally and practise good hygiene.
  • If you intend travelling to a remote area, it is a good idea to carry water purification tablets.
  • It is also worthwhile to take a reliable first-aid kit with you that includes an the usual basic health care necessities, such as antiseptic wash, antiseptic cream, eyewash, gauze, bandages, etc., but also includes medications for such things as diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, burns (including sunburn), indigestion and Giardia.
  • If you are travelling to a country with insect-borne diseases, carry a good quality insect repellent.
  • Anti-malarial medication will be necessary when travelling to affected areas.

Date posted: 6th September, 2011

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