Ask any globetrotter or jet-setter, the world is filled with magically beautiful places but also filled with some pretty nasty bacteria and viruses. From mosquito bites to contaminated water, these nasty bugs can sneak up and attack when you least expect it and if you’re not prepared, coming in contact with potential diseases your body isn’t ready to fight can really put a damper on a vacation. Reinforcing yourself against infectious diseases before you head off on your next adventure should be a top priority on your travel check-list.
“Vaccines contain very small amounts of weak or dead germs that will not make you sick. The injection triggers an immune response that helps us fight off and prevent infection,” said Emmy Feeler, certified nurse practitioner in the Travel Health Clinic at UT Health Austin.
Without being properly vaccinated before traveling abroad, especially to an exotic or developing country, you may be at risk for a myriad of diseases your body has never been exposed to before.
“The exact vaccinations you will need depends on where you are going, how long you are going for and your past medical history and risk factors,” said Emmy.
Before embarking on your journey, it’s important to do some research to get a basic understanding of what you will need from sources like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Some vaccines, such as the one for yellow fever, are required before you can even enter certain countries due to high risk of exposure to the disease. Without these required vaccines you may have a difficult time leaving for your trip as well as returning home (yikes).
“Specialized travel health clinics are equipped to deliver vaccinations and counseling services prior to your departure,” Emmy said. “It is advised to schedule an appointment between four to six weeks before your trip.”
Before departing for a trip outside of the United States, ask your provider about the following:
- Scheduling an appointment four to six weeks in advance of your trip
- Routine vaccinations recommended or required for entry into specific countries
- Personal health issues or risks for disease or complications while traveling
- A personal immunization record card including immunizations and dates
To protect yourself and others from diseases you may be exposed to, make sure you’re up to date on the immunizations you will need by visiting the UT Health Austin Worklife Travel Health Clinic.
“Our clinicians will review your health history, including immunization history, and your travel plans with you and complete a risk assessment based on these factors,” said Emmy.
You will receive recommendations on preventing travel-related diseases, which may include CDC-recommended immunizations, personal prevention behaviors and medications. All these strategies are aimed at preventing illness in the event of contracting an infectious disease while traveling.
When you leave for your vacation you can feel assured that you are protected from potentially life-threatening diseases you may come in contact while abroad. Bon Voyage!