Traveling can expose you to viruses which can cause certain illnesses like measles, influenza, and hepatitis. It is important that you learn more about the current health trends of your destination of choice so you can get an idea of what vaccines you will need. Getting immunized can protect you and your family so you have a safer and more enjoyable vacation.
This vaccine helps develop antibodies that fight off the effects of influenza infection. According to CDC, the most common flu vaccine called the “trivalent” vaccines protects you from three common flu viruses like influenza A (H1N1) virus, influenza A (H3N2) virus, and influenza B virus. Meanwhile, the “quadrivalent” flu vaccine also covers the same viruses but includes an extra layer of protection against an additional B virus. It usually takes about two full weeks for the vaccine for the antibodies to develop in your body after the first shot so it is recommended that you get vaccinated before the start of flu season.
Measles or “tigdas” is a common respiratory disease that is caused by a virus. Being unvaccinated puts you at great risk of developing the disease. Traveling to developing countries where the infection is more common can increase your risk of exposure. If you were born any time after 1957 or if you are in custody of a child who is older than six months old, then it is recommended that you visit your family doctor to get vaccinated.
Hepatitis A and B
Frequent travelers who frequent third world countries with high incidence of hepatitis should prioritize getting this shot. Getting vaccinated against hepatitis can protect you from the many serious complications that come with the disease like liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.
Consumption of contaminated food and water can lead to typhoid fever, most especially if you are in a developing country. Typhoid vaccine can be administered to children aged two years or older while oral typhoid vaccine is recommended for children aged six and above.
Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccination (Tdap)
The Tdap vaccine protects you from the deadly effects of tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria, and pertussis. These diseases are caused by bacteria and is easily spread from person to person. Tetanus is commonly acquired from infected cuts and bruises while a simple cough or sneeze can spread diphtheria and pertussis.
Chickenpox is a common and highly contagious disease which is caused by the varicella zoster virus. Getting the varicella vaccine is not limited to children since there are special cases to consider in adults who need the vaccine like: those who haven’t been vaccinated as a child and healthcare workers who are exposed to certain diseases on a daily basis. Also, chickenpox and shingles are cause by the same virus so it’s important that you ask your doctor about another set of vaccinations to prevent the occurrence of shingles (recommended for patients aged 60 and older).
Additional travel health tips
- Avoid eating or drinking street food which may cause certain diseases like traveler’s diarrhea and hepatitis.
- Bring your trusted mosquito/bug repellant spray with you to avoid insect bites. Dengue and malaria are still prevalent in some developing countries like the Philippines so it’s important to wear clothes which gives your child an extra layer of protection like pants and long sleeves.
- Avoid interacting with stray animals like dogs, cats, monkeys, and bats.