NWPC Blog

Your Guide to Travel Vaccines

One of the most important steps to keeping yourself safe while traveling is by getting vaccinated no later than 4 weeks before a trip. If you are wondering, “Which vaccines do I need before traveling?” this article will help you figure out who should get vaccinated, what vaccines are needed for which countries, and how long in advance you should get your shots before an international trip.

 

Considerations and What You Need to Know About Travel Vaccines

Did you know travel vaccines take up to 4 weeks to work because your body needs time to build up an immunity to protect you from specific diseases and illnesses? This means it’s important to schedule an appointment to get immunized a month ahead of traveling to reduce your chances of getting sick. Additionally, let your doctor know about the following aspects of your trip at your next visit: 

  • Where you are traveling? 
  • What specific vaccines are recommended or required in the country you intend to visit? 
  • Is my health ready for my trip? If you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system you may require additional vaccinations before leaving.
  • How long will my trip be and what activities will I do? 
  • Do my medical records show that I have the right vaccines? Make sure you know what vaccines you have had, and whether or not you are due for any boosters before you travel.

Why Should I Get Vaccinated Before my Trip?

Vaccinations not only protect you against a traveling disease or sickness, but it reduces your chances of unknowingly exposing an illness to others. All the diseases listed above are easily preventable by getting vaccinated, and many are serious if contracted. They can cause life-long damage, and in some cases even death, so it is vital to protect yourself no matter what. 

When Should I Get Vaccinated Before Traveling?

Make sure you give yourself enough time before you leave to get properly vaccinated. Again, you have to schedule your immunizations at least 4 to 6 weeks before traveling, so make more time than you may need to plan ahead and get vaccinating early. Getting your shots 4 weeks in advance will give them enough time to start working and will protect you against travel-related illnesses or disease. Planning ahead will also give you enough time to get vaccines that require more than one dose.

travel-vaccines-take-4-weeks-to-work-graphpic

Which Travel Vaccines Will I Need?

Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Polio: There are a number of common vaccines recommended by doctors to anyone traveling overseas. Tetanus and diphtheria are found worldwide, while polio is rare and mostly eradicated, it’s still present in areas such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. If you are traveling to one of these countries, your doctor may recommend a one-time booster shot or check your medical records to make sure you’re vaccinated before leaving. 

If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, you can get a combination vaccine that will protect you against all three of these diseases, which will require five follow-up boosters. If it’s been more than 10 years since your last booster shot, you may need to get another dose of the vaccine before traveling. 

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR): You should make sure you have your MMR vaccine before traveling. While measles remains relatively rare in the United States, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the majority of measles cases brought into the US come from residents returning from a trip abroad. Not only can you protect yourself by making sure you are up-to-date on your routine vaccinations, but you can protect others by getting immunized as well. 

Hepatitis A & B: Doctors also recommend getting your hepatitis A and B vaccines before traveling. You contract hepatitis A through contaminated food and water, while hepatitis B is passed through bodily fluids. Both are most commonly found in areas with poor sanitation. It is highly recommended that you get vaccinated if you are traveling to any developing countries.

Yellow Fever: It is required to get the yellow fever vaccine in order to travel to certain countries. Additionally, only registered providers can administer this vaccine and you must get it at least 10 days before traveling. Yellow fever is present in tropical parts of Africa and South America to name a few. Check out this list from the World Health Organization to see if getting vaccinated is required for your trip ahead of time.

Typhoid Fever: This particular illness is present worldwide. However, it is more prevalent in areas where food and water are contaminated with sewage such as in Africa, parts of Asia, and South America. Most people traveling to another country are encouraged to get the typhoid vaccine to protect themselves.

Your physician may also recommend that you get less common travel vaccines. These include rabies, Japanese B Encephalitis, and Tick-Borne Encephalitis. Talk to your doctor if you will be camping, hiking, or likely be near animals during your trip to further protect yourself. 

Where can I get Travel Vaccines in Portland, Oregon?

Are you in Oregon and planning to travel out of the country in the near future? Make sure to contact Northwest Primary Care to get the right information to protect yourself. Schedule an appointment to get the travel vaccines you need for your next trip abroad today!