Staying healthy abroad: the vaccinations you’ll need

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2028

Diphtheria_vaccination_posterBefore going abroad, you’ll want to make sure you have the required vaccinations and inoculations. The shots that you’ll need will vary greatly depending on your destination country.

To figure out what you’ll need, point your web browser over to http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.aspx. Use the interactive map to select your destination and receive a list of recommended inoculations and relevant health warnings.

Your first step will be to catch up on all your routine shots, such as measles/mumps/rubella

(MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT), polio vaccine, etc. These can be easily scheduled at your local doctor’s office. Even if you’re only traveling over the Canadian border, the CDC recommends that your shots be updated. A Hepatitis B shot is also recommended for those who might have any sexual contact abroad.

Other inoculations will vary depending on your destination.

For most eastern Asian nations, you’ll want to get a shot for Japanese encephalitis, a little-known disease that kills 20-30% of those it afflicts.

Malaria is prevalent throughout the third world, and even in more developed countries such as Mexico. This is a common disease that causes 1 million deaths per year, and one you definitely want to protect yourself against.

Rabies shots are recommended in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America wherecanine rabies is a severe problem.

Typhoid and yellow fever, and cholera vaccines should be administered if you’re traveling to Africa, South America, and parts of Asia. Yellow fever shots are required for many of these areas and must be obtained 10 days before traveling. The shots are then reapplied after 10 years. Cholera requires two vaccinations done a week apart, and should be finished a week before departure.

Many countries in central Africa are afflicted by meningitis. In this area, which includes Guinea, Mali, Ethiopia, Chad, Niger, Sudan, Nigeria, and others, anywhere from 5% to 10% of the population can carry the disease. Make sure you get the applicable vaccine.

For a full opinion on the medical vaccinations you’ll need, be sure to consult your doctor.