If you are traveling abroad, proper immunizations are not only important to keep you safe, but also required in many cases. The proper immunizations needed depend on several different factors, such as your destination, length of stay, and your style of travel. Because of the differences in living standards and sanitary conditions among foreign countries, your risk of illness can be higher in certain areas. You should consult with your healthcare provider for their recommendations of which immunizations you need before your foreign travel.
It is important to mention that you should begin your immunization research at least six months prior to your travel, because some immunizations, require multiple doses over a six month period to provide full immunity.
Gulf Coast Immediate Care is the top choice for overseas immunizations for the Emerald Coast. We stock dozens of immunizations that are hard to find at other local clinics. We work with many companies and churches for their foreign travelers and missions teams.
Below are some common immunizations that are required / recommended for overseas travels.
- Routine Vaccines
- Make sure you have all of your typical, routine vaccinations that you need anyway for living in the U.S, such as Hepatitis B, Flu Vaccine, Tetanus/Diptheria/Pertussis (Td/Tdap), Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR), Chickenpox, Meningococcal, Polio, Pneumococcal, and Human Papillomavirus (HPV – Gardasil).
- Hepatitis A Vaccine
- Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) can cause serious liver disease and can be spread by close personal contact or by eating food or drinking water containing HAV. This vaccine is recommended for those traveling to countries with a high or intermediate prevalence of hepatitis A, such as countries in Central or South America, Mexico, Asia (except Japan), Africa, and eastern Europe.
- Typhoid Vaccine
- Typhoid fever is a serious disease spread by food or water that is contaminated with the disease. This is a common disease in most countries in the world except highly industrialized regions such as the United States, Canada, western Europe, Australia, and Japan. You should definitely get this vaccine if you will be visiting Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
- Malaria Medication
- Malaria is a disease spread through mosquito bites and it can cause severe illness and death. This is a common illness in countries such as Africa, Central America, South America, parts of the Caribbean, Asia, eastern Europe, and the South Pacific. Prevention is NOT a vaccine, but a prescription medication that you must begin taking BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER your trips to these countries.
- Rabies Vaccine
- Rabies is a disease that affects the central nervous system that can cause brain disease and death. It is spread through contract with saliva from infected animals and usually spread from bites, scratches, and even licks from infected dogs, bats, foxes, raccoons, and mongooses. This is a 3-shot series over a month.
- Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine
- This is a serious disease spread through mosquito bites. This vaccine requires several doses over the course of a month. This vaccine is necessary when traveling to Asia (not just Japan). Using insect repellent with DEET is also important to prevent this disease.
- Yellow Fever Vaccine
- This is a serious disease caused by a virus spread through mosquito bites and is common in certain parts of South America and Africa. Using insect repellent can also help prevent this illness.
While immunization is one of the BEST forms of protection for travelers, here are a few other smart travel tips to keep you safe:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. You should do this even at home to prevent the spread of illness.
- If soap and water is not readily available, use alcohol-based hand gel or wipes.
- Make sure you and your children keep hands off/ out of your mouth.
- Make sure all of your food is fully cooked. While you might eat undercooked meats, eggs, and seafood in the U.S., don’t take the risk while visiting abroad.
- Do not drink tap water – only drink bottled water and other bottled drinks.
- Avoid ice in your drinks if visiting underdeveloped countries.
- Stay clear of wild animals and unknown domestic animals – they are a common source of disease.
- Protect yourself against insect and mosquito bites with insect repellent containing at least 25-50% DEET.
- Keep an over the counter antidiarrheal medicine handy.
Other important tips to remember prior to traveling abroad:
- Many countries require proof of vaccines and immunizations PRIOR to entering the country.
- You should always consult with your healthcare provider about which vaccines you should and shouldn’t receive.
- Certain conditions, illnesses, and diseases will determine if you can or can’t get a certain vaccine, so make sure you do your own research, as well as listen to your healthcare provider.
- Make sure you begin your vaccinations well before the time you plan to leave for your trip abroad.
- Keep your vaccine and immunization records in a safe place.
- Call ahead of time to make sure we have your needed vaccines in stock. Some have a short shelf life and while we try to stock as many vaccines as possible, we may be out of them if we don’t know you need them.
For more questions, please make an appointment or call Gulf Coast Immediate Care at (850) 244-3211.
This information is NOT meant to substitute professional advice from your physician or other healthcare provider. This information is subject to change at any time as new research and discoveries are made.
We encourage you to visit travelersvaccines.com for more details or to check for updates.