The immunizations you had as a child were to protect you from diseases you might encounter in the United States. If you're planning a trip to another country, you may need additional vaccines since you could be exposed to different types of diseases such as yellow fever, typhoid, and cholera. Here are some things to know about travel immunizations.
Discuss Your Travel Plans With A Doctor
Vaccines usually have to be given well in advance of your travel date. Once you've decided to schedule a trip abroad, talk to your doctor about vaccinations you should take. Government travel websites also provide information about vaccines required for the country you plan to visit, as well as recent epidemics and optional vaccines and health precautions. Once you know the vaccines you need, you can schedule them for completion before your trip. You may need to start several weeks or months before your trip if you need multiple vaccinations.
Get Your Current Vaccines Updated
If you haven't had booster shots since you were a kid, you may need to have some of your current vaccines updated, such as the tetanus and polio immunizations. You should also take a copy of your immunization record. You might be able to obtain it from the county health department if you've lost your copy. Your pediatrician may no longer have a copy of your shots, but if you've ever given a copy to a school, college, employer, or the military, you might get a copy from them. If you're unable to locate a copy of your records, then you may need to repeat some of your old vaccinations so you can travel.
Protect Yourself With Recommended Vaccines
In some cases, vaccines are required before you can enter a certain country. That's why it's so important to find out exactly what immunizations you need. Some countries still fight measles and polio, and want to make sure visitors are immunized against these diseases to help fight their spread. Other times, you want the vaccinations to protect yourself from diseases that you wouldn't encounter at home, but could make you very sick and require hospitalization in an unfamiliar country. Consider taking optional vaccines as a form of protection along with the mandatory immunizations. The shots you need depend on the part of the world where you will travel, and they may even vary according to how long you'll be staying in the country.
Figuring out what vaccinations you need and taking them in advance of your travel date will save you from disappointment if you're not allowed in the country you plan to visit. You have a lot of things to plan out when you travel overseas, but you don't want to forget about immunizations, which is one of the more important things on your list.