If you’re planning on traveling out of the country, getting your plane tickets and packing your suitcase may not be enough. You want your trip of a lifetime to be one to remember (and not in a bad way!) Be sure to take steps to stay healthy while abroad.
Travel medicine experts strongly recommend that you don’t leave home without also taking the proper health precautions.
If you’re planning on traveling to certain locations, you should see a travel doctor a month or so before because if any immunizations are recommended it takes time for the body to form antibodies to the vaccines. For example, while the Yellow Fever vaccine needs to be given a minimum of 10 days prior to entering a country that requires it, the Japanese encephalitis vaccine series and rabies pre-exposure series require 2-3 vaccines given over three to four weeks. Doctors are limited in what they can do to protect travelers who wait until the last minute to see them.
Taking precautions is not only important when traveling to countries in the developing world. Certain health issues can also present dangers in developed countries that are generally not viewed as part of the developing world – such as Israel, where Hepatitis A can be a problem, or the Dominican Republic, which not too many years ago had a polio scare.
Travel medicine doctors will discuss with patients the Centers for Disease Control’s (www.cdc.gov) latest recommendations on vaccines and recent health warnings.
Here are some additional things to consider:
The cost for getting vaccinated is not inexpensive – and not covered by insurance. Still, if you’re spending $10,000 to travel, choosing not to spend a few hundred dollars to keep yourself healthy seems penny wise and dollar foolish. It can be far more expensive to get ill and end up in a local hospital. Plan ahead and get ready to have a great trip abroad!