Take a shot – Travel abroad

There are good shots and there are bad shots.  Good shots are the type that get the party started and often, get my party ended.  They are the reason I can’t look at a bottle of Southern Comfort without getting chills … college – good times.  Bad shots are the type that have children screaming and palms sweating.  They are the reason that patients dread the doctor.  No one without an addiction looks forward to getting stuck with a needle but it is better than the alternative.  Yesterday, we talked about what you can contract on a plane.  Today, we’ll touch upon what you can contract at your destination.  There is only so much Purell can do.  If you are traveling to a foreign country, you may need more than good hygeine.

1.  Check the CDC website for vaccination recommendations for your destination.  It is important to know where you will be spending time.  For instance, you may need different vaccines depending on whether you are staying in a city or will be visiting rural areas.

2.  Make an appointment with your doctor 4-6 weeks before your planned trip.  This will give any vaccinations you need time to kick in.  It will also leave you some room in case you need to return for a second dose.

How you can get sick.

3.  Hepatitis A and Typhoid Fever can be contracted through contaminated water and food.  They are very prevalent in developing countries.  The hepatitis A virus causes an acute inflammation of the liver.  Typhoid Fever, true to its name, causes a high fever, rash, stomach pains and headache.

4.  Yellow fever and malaria are contracted through mosquito bites.  If you thought camping in America was itchy, you ain’t scratched nothing yet.  Both begin with fever and symptoms of the flu and can end with death.  Prophylaxis is available.  There are types of encephalitis that are also contracted through the bite of mosquitos.

5. Don’t forget about the vaccines that you should already have.  Your doctor can test to ensure that you are still immune to measles, polio, hepatitis B, and many others.  Immunity can wane and you may need a booster.

Another illness that pops up frequently on the CDC website is rabies.  Vaccine to this disease, that is caused by infected animals, is recommend for those traveling to areas with a lot of bats.  Since I know a lot of my readers and you are all very intelligent, savvy and appropriately creeped-out people, I am assuming you are avoiding destinations with flying rodents.  If not, shoot me an email and I will talk you out of that trip.

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