If you are planning to travel abroad, you may need certain travel immunization. Which vaccinations will be required will depend on your travel destination, the length of your stay, and whether or not you have already been inoculated against particular diseases. Consult a physician or travel medicine clinic at least four to six weeks before your departure in order to allow the recommended time for vaccinations to be effective. This is especially important for those whose travel destinations include tropical areas or developing countries. Immunizations against diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid, and cholera, as well as drugs that protect you against malaria are vital to your health. Here is some travel vaccination advice obtained from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Showing proof at customs
Immigration officials in some countries may ask you for immunization certification as proof that you have had vaccines against cholera and yellow fever; you may also have to prove to certain overseas employers that you have had your childhood vaccinations, such as those for chicken pox, measles, and polio. Because different countries have different diseases, you should consult the federal government’s health department to get a current list of countries and their prevalent diseases, as well as the mandatory inoculation for those countries. If you are uncertain of your immunization record, ask your current, past, and childhood physicians for a list of vaccines you have received.
If you are traveling to an area where malaria is prevalent, you will need to purchase a sufficient supply of anti-malarial drugs which you must begin to take one full week before departure, for the entire duration of your visit, and for the continuing four weeks after leaving the malarial area. The actual medication prescribed will depend on the particular strain of malaria present in the country you are visiting. Moreover, travelers must take personal protective measures to reduce the risk of mosquito bites. It is wise to consult a physician or travel medicine clinic in order to obtain travel advice with regards to malaria.
A vaccination against yellow fever is mandatory for entry into certain countries in Central Africa and South America. Travelers to these countries must possess an international certificate of vaccination that certifies that they have had yellow fever vaccination. An additional 102 countries require this certificate if there has been a stop-over in a region where yellow fever exists.
Travel vaccination advice
Ensure that your vaccines against illnesses such as diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, chicken pox, mumps and rubella are up-to-date
Consider immunization against typhoid and hepatitis A if travel includes areas where sanitary conditions are poor
Inform yourself on the particular risks involved when traveling to remote areas where immunization against meningitis, Japanese encephalitis, European tick-borne encephalitis, hepatitis B or rabies is required.
Although most vaccines can be administered on short notice, four to six weeks prior to departure is recommended in order to maximize your protection as it takes time for your body to build immunity. Travel immunization provides protection, but it is not a substitute for proper personal hygiene, mosquito precautions, and careful selection of food and water sources. A health professional will be able to assess your personal travel immunization and preventative medication needs, depending on your physical health condition, previous immunization history, and travel itinerary.
Article written by Anna DeGaborik
Anna DeGaborik is the author for the All Mosquito Netting Info website. She studies insect diseases and prevention, specializing in mosquitoes.