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How to Prepare Yourself for Medical Travel

Posted by Dr. Santiago Hernandez, May 30, 2015

ID-100148437Do not pack your bags just yet to travel to another country for medical treatment. Before you get on that plane, visit a doctor to find out if you are in the clear to make your trip abroad. Even though being vaccinated for diseases depends largely on the area of the country you are travelling to, caution is advised.

Vaccination:  Why is it Important?

In order to reduce the probability of becoming seriously ill, conduct research on the type of immunizations that you should get to guarantee safe and healthy travels. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medical travelers should schedule an appointment with their doctor four to six weeks before they depart.

Since it takes time for your body to build up immunity to the vaccines and the time to give particular vaccines needs to be spaced out, it is preferable to see a doctor earlier than later. Even if your plan to travel to another country was in the spur of the moment, you still should not neglect seeing a doctor before you leave.

Routine, required, and recommended are three types of vaccinations you should consult your doctor for.

The List of Vaccines You Should Get

A common misconception regarding routine vaccination is that once you get older, you do not require vaccination. This kind of thought process is wrong, as you never outgrow the need for vaccinations. Each year as an adult, you might need a flu shot or a tetanus booster after every ten years. Here is a list of routine vaccinations:

1) Hepatitis A

2) Hepatitis B

3) Influenza

4) Polio

5) Measles, Mumps, and Rubella

6) Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis

7)  Pneumococcal

So, if you are planning a trip to any part of South America, Africa, or Asia, make sure you have received all of your routine shots. Apart from updating your routine vaccinations, get the following vaccinations if you are traveling to Mexico specifically:

1) Yellow Fever (a stay of twelve hours at the airport transit of a country with a high risk of yellow fever is required to show a proof of immunization.

2) Hepatitis A shot is highly recommended for travelers visiting Mexico.

3) Typhoid Fever shot also comes highly recommended.

4) Medical travelers extending their stay in Mexico to partake in outdoor activities such as hiking need to get three rabies shots.

International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers’ World Immunization Chart for 2015 provides medical travelers with an updated list on all the vaccines they need to administer before visiting a foreign country.

Additionally, people with certain medical ailments such as cancer are more susceptible to catch and develop infections. Due to their weakened immune system, they may need to be given live vaccines for tuberculosis, oral polio, oral typhoid, yellow fever, rubella, mumps, and measles.

Medical travel should not put their life at risk by thinking that the possibility of contracting a disease is less. In fact, it may very well be less, but you should not take the chance to test that outcome.

Sources:

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Livingwithandaftercancer/Practicalissues/Travel/Vaccinationsimmunisations.aspx

https://www.iamat.org/elibrary/view/id/1359

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/see-doctor

Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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