The time has finally come for a highly anticipated trip out of the country. The plans started long ago: plane tickets, hotel reservations, car rental and sightseeing plans. The bags are pulled from the attic to fill, and excitement escalates with each passing day. Everything is going
But wait – what about vaccines?
Is this another setting that needs to be added to the To Do list? Traveling abroad might feel like an adventure to another planet. Pictures of exotic destinations as well as exotic new foods dance on travel brochure pages. Predicting the unexpected can be a challenge for the most experienced traveler. However, traveling with children adds an extra dimension of anxiety – thinking of your child getting sick in a foreign country is very scary. Your doctor recommends a variety of vaccines. Is it necessary? How do you assess the risks?
Hepatitis b It is a viral infection that spreads through contact with blood. In the United States, hepatitis B is found mainly in adults, and is spread through intimate contact or through the exchange of needles used with illicit drugs. Hepatitis B is more common in the general population in eastern and southeastern Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the risk of long-term complications is much lower than we generally think. Over 95 percent of people with hepatitis B recover completely, and the infection will lead to a lifetime immunity to this person. Unless you plan to spend long periods in close contact with infected people, the risk of developing hepatitis B while traveling is very small.
poliomyelitis It is an infectious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The disease mainly appears in children under five; the initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and pain in the extremities. Paralysis produces about 1 to 2 percent of children with a viral infection, although the vast majority fully recover from this paralysis. However, there are few who suffer from permanent disability for life.
Polio is almost eradicated. As they were common throughout the underdeveloped world, as of February 2006, only four countries still reported isolated outbreaks: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Additionally, there have been no cases of wild polio in the Western Hemisphere since 1991.
Polio continues to be vaccinated in the United States, with 5 doses given before entering school, (1) that until polio is completely eradicated, the risk of re-emergence of polio in this country is “just a flight.” However, a data check reveals only six of the imported polio cases documented between 1980 and 1998, the last in New York City in 1993. (2) The risk of polio at home is minimal; the risks abroad are almost the same.
Tetanus It is an acute and spastic paralysis caused by a toxin released by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. Bacteria are found in soil and animal faeces around the world. Newborn tetanus is considered the most lethal and somewhat depicted in school tetanus cases. However, the vast majority of these cases occur after birth and the use of non-sterile equipment to cut the umbilical cord. While other forms of tetanus are a serious disease, healing is the norm. In other words, tetanus is not a mortally fatal disease. If you are traveling to remote areas, such as backpacks in areas without medical care and without clean water, you may need to carefully consider tetanus.
But a word of caution: The tetanus shot does not guarantee protection. In a study published by the CDC in 1997, 13% of people who had tetanus had four or more shots from tetanus. (3) Your best protection against tetanus is to clean the wound well with abundant amounts of soap and soapy water, and to encourage heavy bleeding for a few minutes. Use hydrogen peroxide to clean your wound, followed by a topical antibiotic ointment like Neosporin.
What about strange diseases?
When traveling abroad, you may encounter some diseases that have not generally appeared in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control lists the following diseases as potential concerns for anyone traveling to any destination around the world:
Typhoid feverAcute febrile disease caused by typhoid Salmonella bacteria, characterized by fever, headache and splenomegaly. The greatest danger is for travelers to the Indian subcontinent and developing countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America who will be exposed for a long time to unrefined foods.
Yellow fever It is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes and its severity can vary from influenza-like syndrome to severe hepatitis and hemorrhagic fever. This disease occurs only in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical and rural South America.
Japanese encephalitisAnother mosquito-borne viral infection, found throughout Asia, especially in rural or agricultural areas in temperate regions of China, Japan, Korea, and eastern Russia. The risk for short-term travelers to cities is very low.
For all these potential infections, it is important to get a natural mosquito repellent, which is devoid of DEET, the toxic additive found in most insect repellents. , Made by Royal Neem. It is free of chemicals and contains many natural ingredients.
Hepatitis a It is a viral disease that starts with fever and diarrhea, and within a few days it is followed by jaundice (it turns yellow). The disease ranges in clinical severity, from any symptoms, to a mild illness that lasts from one to two weeks. Although it is endemic worldwide, hepatitis A infection can be prevented by following hygiene carefully and following a few nutritional recommendations:
1. Eat only hot cooked foods to the touch. Avoid eating from street vendors.
2. Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables unless you peel them yourself.
3. Only drink "safe" drinks: bottled water bottles, hot tea, coffee, beer, wine, and boiling water. Avoid drinking drinks with ice.
5. Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat and seafood (risk of hepatitis).
6. Avoid all tap water, and be careful not to get shower water in your mouth. When eating at restaurants, ask if the vegetables have been washed with salad in boiled, distilled water or bottled water.
7. Avoid milk and dairy products from unknown standards.
What is recommended? What is required?
Although the CDC recommends that all travelers receive vaccinations when traveling abroad, it is important to realize that, with one exception, there is no vaccine required before traveling anywhere in the world: it is only "recommended". There will be no need to obtain a vaccination record to enter a country, nor will there be a need to obtain vaccinations to return to their homes. The only exception is yellow fever vaccine, Which may be required if you are traveling to or from a South American or African country with yellow fever. Recommendations can vary from country to country; if this destination is part of your travel plans, you should search for "yellow fever" requirements for that specific country. (4)
I have been a world trotter for most of my adult life. In the past 25 years, I have had the good fortune to have traveled to more than 40 countries. I was never asked to register a vaccine, and I never felt the need for any vaccines, even when traveling to remote and exotic destinations.
The final advice? Remember to pack your passport, sunglasses and favorite book. Enjoy and do not risk the disease before you go from multiple vaccines.