Everything You Wanted to Know about Travel Vaccines
London travel clinic offer travelling vaccines

Everything You Wanted to Know about Travel Vaccines

Visiting new countries is an excellent experience that many dream of. On the flip side, it may expose you to illnesses that are not only rare but almost unknown to western medicine. So, what do you do now? Of course, staying at home is not an option; therefore, you can undergo a simple vaccination or vaccinations which are necessary to protect you from diseases and illnesses that are known to exist in the areas which you plan to visit.

“Travel vaccines are also known as travel immunisations,” explains Prof Sam Lingam, the renowned paediatric consultant and executive medical director at the Medical Express Clinic. “These are basically shots that travelers take before going to certain places in the world to save them from severe diseases.”

The working methodology of travel vaccines

Now, you may be wondering how does a vaccine protect you from a severe and potentially deadly disease likeTyphoid or Malaria?When you take a vaccine for a certain disease, the vaccine introduces a little germ of that disease into your body. The virus or bacteria of the germ is already weakened or killed before pushing the vaccine into your system. Thus, you don’t develop the disease from it. On the other hand, your body responds to the vaccine by boosting your immune system or generating antibodies against the injected germ. These antibodies protect you in case you’re exposed to the disease in the future.

“In short, travel vaccines are safe and effective not only in protecting travelers from many severe diseases in foreign lands but also prove helpful in preventing them from reaching home,” assures the paediatrician.

Travel vaccine types

Travel vaccines are categorised into 3 sections, which are as following:

  • Routine vaccines –These are standard recommendations for both children and adults like tetanus, diphtheria and others. These vaccines prove to be very helpful in more than one ways while travelling to a foreign country.
  • Recommended vaccines – These protect you against many high-risk diseases that you may contract while traveling abroad. These vaccines also help preventing diseases travelling across countries and regions.
  • Required vaccines – Saudi Arabia makes it mandatory for Hajj pilgrims to get a meningococcal vaccine. You may also need a Yellow Fever vaccine while travelling to certain parts of Africa or even South America.

The common travel vaccines

Here is a list of the most common vaccines for travel-related diseases:

  • Typhoid and Paratyphoid fever
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Rabies
  • Yellow Fever
  • Japanese Encephalitis

Different travel vaccines for different individuals

As far as travel vaccines are concerned, people think ‘one size fits all’. This is a big mistake; for example, a corporate leader checking in at a 5-star accommodation in Bangkok has a totally different risk profile compared to a university student going into rural Thailand. Therefore, it is obvious that recommended vaccinations in the two cases will be strikingly different.

In other words, you need to visit doctors to ascertain which travel vaccines you should include in your programme. Your doctor makes the decision broadly based on the following factors:

  • Any chronic health condition that you may be suffering from.
  • Detailed information about the places you plan to travel to.

Certain travel immunisations are given in a series of shots over a period of days or even weeks. Moreover, vaccines need time to start working. Therefore, ideally you should visit your travel vaccination doctor at least 4 to 6 weeks before your scheduled date of journey.

Travel vaccines are shortlisted on the following factors:

  • Your present health condition.
  • Past immunisation history.
  • Travel itinerary.

Doctors from a renowned travel vaccination clinic in London say that basic hygiene and sanitation are very helpful to stay away from many diseases and infections when abroad.

  • Do wash your hands every time before eating.
  • Do not put your hand or fingers in the mouth.
  • Carry an alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Use common sense to understand foods that are safe to eat.
  • If bottled water is unavailable, drink boiled water or even carbonated drinks.

These tips are effective to prevent diarrheal or food-borne diseases. Use insect repellents and sleep under a mosquito net to ward off malaria and certain other diseases. Educate yourself before you travel because an educated traveler is always a happy traveler and a happy traveler eagerly goes travelling time and again.