If you’re heading to an underdeveloped or tropical destination, you probably know there are vaccinations to help you avoid special health challenges at these locations. Health standards vary even in developed countries, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. The healthcare professionals with travel clinic experience, such as those at Suburban Healthcare Associates, stay up-to-date with medical travel advisories, and follow current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.
The best advice is to see your doctor early, at least a month or two prior to travel, if that’s possible. Be ready to share where you’ll be traveling, both the country and regions within it, how long you’ll be gone, and what sort of activities you plan to enjoy. Along with your recent health history, this information helps your doctor provide you with the best preventive care.
While specific immunizations sometimes depend on your destination, it’s a good idea to make sure your regular vaccinations are up-to-date. Measles, mumps, and rubella aren’t typically a problem in the U.S. anymore, since vaccinations for these are common. However even developed countries in Western Europe experience measles outbreaks. If you have other health conditions, illnesses like measles and influenza can take a serious toll.
On top of regular immunizations, your doctor at Suburban Healthcare Associates can advise you on the most useful vaccinations matching your destination. Most travelers to the Bahamas, for example, should be vaccinated against hepatitis A and typhoid, and some should add hepatitis B, yellow fever, and rabies immunizations as well.
There are two key reasons why a 4-6-week window is a good idea prior to travel. First, some vaccines require more than one shot, such as the hepatitis B vaccine. While some immunizations may provide partial protection even if you don’t complete the full course, receiving all parts of a vaccine offers the best protection.
The second reason is that some single-dose immunizations take time for your body to process. Traveling too soon after vaccines such as yellow fever, hepatitis A, or typhoid, may leave you vulnerable in the early days of your vacation.