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.”
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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