Adventures Abroad – What You Need to Know about Travel Vaccinations
In many countries, vaccine preventable diseases that have been eliminated from North America may still be common. Without protection against these diseases, travelers run the risk of becoming seriously ill and bringing illnesses back into the United States, potentially causing outbreaks and deaths.
For both your health and the health of others, it is important to get travel vaccinations before beginning your adventures abroad. Travel vaccinations are shots or medicine that travelers get before leaving the country. They work by exposing the traveler’s body to certain germs of the disease that allow the body to develop a defense against it.
The best time to get travel vaccinations is 4-6 weeks before your planned departure. Many of the shots require multiple doses, as well as time to be fully effective. Even if certain travel vaccines are only one dose, they still need time to develop in your body. Other diseases such as malaria, only require 1-2 weeks of drugs before departure, but either way preventative planning is important.
The most common side effects of travel vaccines are: Soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, tiredness or fatigue, headache, muscle or joint pain, fever or chills, and nausea or diarrhea. Side effects usually disappear within 3-7 days.