Vaccinations & Preventative Medicines for Travel
Vaccinations and preventative medicine play a key part in reducing the risks of getting sick while traveling. When deciding for or against vaccinations and preventative medicines, many points should be considered:
- Where are you going? Different destinations have different diseases and the risk of contracting it may be higher or lower from place to place.
- When are you going? Many immunizations take weeks or more to take full effect.
- What are you doing there? In some cases traveling exclusively within urban centres reduces your risk of some diseases versus that of back-country hiking. Also consider that some diseases do not have vaccinations, but they do have preventative medicines available.
Where to Obtain Vaccinations & Preventative Medicines
Depending on where you live, a good place to start is with your doctor, a travel clinic, or give your local health authority a call. Most vaccinations and preventative medicines are charged for, but check with your health plan to see if any are covered. Also plan well in advance (a few months at least) as some vaccines must be booked for in advance (e.g., Yellow Fever) and some take several doses over several weeks to reach full coverage.
If visiting a travel clinic, go prepared with all the locations you'll be, when you'll be there and be sure to mention any health history or medication you're already taking as it may interfere with vaccines/preventative medicines.
Common Vaccinations and Preventative Medicines
Below is a list of some of the more common diseases and infections that you may come across during your travels. Click on any link to learn more.
Written by Kim Romaine