Travel Vaccination: An Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results03,Apr,2020
For some people, travelling is an adventure while for some others, it is a necessity. Whatever be the reason for travelling, it exposes one to many diseases that the body’s immune system is not prepared for.
However, this doesn’t stop anyone from travelling. You can protect yourself from foreign diseases by getting the proper vaccinations for the country or region you intend to visit.
Travel vaccinations work the same way as regular vaccinations. Vaccines are safe and rarely have adverse effects. A vaccine is taken to boost the body’s immunity against a certain disease. The vaccine usually contains a weakened or dead form of a microorganism. It may also contain a part of the organism like an antigen found on the organism’s surface or one of its toxins. The vaccine stimulates the body’s immune system to produce antibodies to fight against the microorganism. When the body eventually reencounters the microorganism, it will be able to produce antibodies capable of fighting off the microorganism effectively.
Travel vaccines are specific immunisations administered to people before they travel to protect them from serious, life-threatening diseases in the country or region you intend to travel to.
Routine vaccines are standard and basic immunisations that are mandatory and included in most national health programs. They are usually given at a young age. Some vaccines require booster shots first to provide effective immunity. Diseases such as poliomyelitis have been eradicated in developed countries but are still persistent in some other countries due to lack of vaccination.
Many adults have not been able to take all the necessary vaccines, while some have never been immunised. For this set of people, travelling is one way to ensure that they get all the necessary vaccines. Routine vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, hepatitis H, influenza B, and pneumococcal. In some countries, human papillomavirus (HPV) rotavirus, BCG for tuberculosis, and varicella are also included in routine immunisations.
Recommended Travel Vaccines
These are vaccines given to anyone who wants to travel to places where they are at risk of contracting a specific disease. They prevent certain illnesses from spreading to other areas or regions. Most travel vaccines are for diseases which are prevalent in crowded places and areas with poor sanitary conditions.
Recommended vaccines for travellers include those for cholera, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and rabies. Additional vaccines for travelling to Asian countries include encephalitis while the tick-borne vaccine is necessary for those travelling to Russia and the Baltic states. All these vaccines can be gotten at a travel vaccination clinic.
Presently, there are three required vaccines. They include vaccines for yellow fever, polio, and meningococcal. The International Health Regulation recommends only the yellow fever vaccine. People who intend to travel to any of the African, South and Central American countries need to get the yellow fever vaccine. Some countries need proof of immunisation for yellow fever even if you only passed through a country where yellow fever is endemic. An international certificate is available to show as a proof for yellow fever vaccination.
Saudi Arabia requires people who are going to Mecca and the annual Hajj to get vaccinated against meningococcal. Some other countries also require polio vaccination for people coming from countries with prevalent wild-type poliomyelitis.
Generally, travellers need to first consult a travel health specialist before leaving the country. A travel health specialist will advise you on specific precautions to take for any country you are visiting and give you the necessary vaccines for the country. During your consultation with the travel health specialist, you will need to inform the specialist of your itinerary which must include the specific places you would be visiting, the duration of your trip, your planned activities, and your planned accommodation amongst other essential details.
The risk of various diseases varies depending on the specific location, even in the same country. For example, someone on a business trip staying in a hotel has a different disease risk from a volunteer travelling to a rural area with poor hygiene and sanitation in the same country.
Commonly, a travel health appointment is supposed to be scheduled 4 – 8 weeks before the travel date because you may need a series of vaccines that are administered over several weeks for them to be effective. Generally, activated vaccines can be administered at the same time while live vaccines can be administered simultaneously but at different sites. Sometimes, live vaccines are given a month apart.
Combination vaccines have an advantage over other types of vaccines for travellers. They allow the traveller to receive different immunisations at once. The immune response of persons varies depending on several factors which include the kind of immunisation and the number of doses. The duration and onset of vaccines also vary.
Immunisations reduce your risk of getting certain diseases; however, they are not 100% effective and not all diseases have vaccines. If you are travelling, it is crucial to take the necessary precautions to avoid contracting a disease. Basic disease preventive measures include proper hygiene and regular hand washing, avoiding unclean and contaminated food, and using insect repellent to prevent diseases that are caused by insects. You can also take some medications to prevent endemic diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. Some diseases like HIV can only be prevented by taking the necessary preventive measure.
Patient education plays a crucial role in preventing travel diseases and having a successful trip. You can get the right travel information and vaccination at Walk-in Clinics in London.
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