Travel Vaccinations: What They Are and What They Do

It is hard to believe that some places in the world still have to contend with deadly diseases that are almost non-existent here in the U.S. but it is true. Any time you are going to be traveling abroad, it is important that you make sure all your immunizations are up-to-date. You should also check with your physician or a travel doctor to find out what vaccinations you need for the country you are traveling to. Three may be some required that you never had to get before. Make sure you do this four to six weeks before you are scheduled to leave so the immunity takes effect.

Why are Vaccinations so Important?

When people get vaccinated against a disease, they gain immunity to it for a specific time of even for life after a series of shots. This does not mean that the disease has been combatted and destroyed; it is still out there somewhere. In the U.S. and most of Europe, vaccinations are required before a child can enter school. This is to prevent one child from contracting the disease and passing it among the whole school. In places where immunizations are not required, there is a real possibility of contracting the virus. If you have had an immunization, you are not going to get it. Remember, many viruses can live dormant for a long time before or after infecting someone. The people you meet may not seem ill, but that does not mean they do not harbor the virus. It is also possible to contract different viruses from what you eat, drink or even from the ground or air.

Protecting Yourself and Others

In some countries, there are diseases that have not yet made it to the U.S. so there is not requirement for the vaccination against it. In these cases, if you do not receive the shot, you can very easily contract the virus while travelling and bring it back to America. It will spread fast before everyone is able to be properly immunized. In some cases, there will be many deaths. While some say to just give all immunizations to everyone and avoid that possibility, giving out vaccinations and putting people at risk of the disease is not a good answer either. Most immunizations give a small amount of the virus to you, allowing your body to build up the antiviruses needed to fight off a full attack.

Some viruses are not to be taken lightly. Think of what happened with the Black Plague or Typhoid. Even if you think you are invincible and will never get sick, you could very well become a carrier of the virus, and infect a lot of people before you are even aware of the fact you have it. Do not put off your shots, get them well in advance of any travel and keep everyone safe. If you are unsure of what shots you will need for your vacation or for your travels, check with the local health department. They will be able to instruct you on any particular vaccinations that are required and how you should obtain them.

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