Vaccinations and travel

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: July 24th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

So you’re back from your stop at the travel agency with brochures in hand to plan this summer’s vacation. But before heading overseas, consider one more stop… your family physician’s office.

Don’t let an unexpected illness in a faraway land ruin your trip. Protecting yourself and your loved ones can be as simple as getting immunized in advance.

If you’re headed to the Mediterranean or on safari in Africa, for example, you should consider getting the vaccine that prevents hepatitis-A. Hepatitis-A is a viral infection that’s transmitted through contaminated food or water. It can lead to weeks of fatigue, nausea and jaundice.

The hepatitis-A vaccine is actually a series of two shots. You’ll need the first one at least two weeks before your trip to give your body time to arm itself. So don’t wait until the last minute to schedule a visit with your family physician.

And, depending on your destination, your doctor may recommend immunizations against typhoid or yellow fever. In fact, some countries require a visa or other proof of immunization, especially if there have been recent outbreaks.

And here’s one more tip for your journey… drink bottled or sparkling water and stick to food served steaming hot they’re always a safe bet against illness-causing bacteria.

Want more information?

Visit the traveler’s health link on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web site at

Remember what they say about an ounce of prevention… immunize in advance and have a healthy vacation.