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Distant Adventures – Vaccination and Travel Abroad


The time for the long-awaited international trip has finally come. The plans started a long time ago: plane tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, trip plans. Bags are pulled from the rooftop to be collected and the excitement builds up with each passing day. Everything is a go.

But wait – what about vaccines?

Is this one more preparation that should be added to the “To Do” list? Traveling outside the country can feel like an attempt on another planet. Pictures of exotic places dance along the pages of travel brochures with new, intriguing foods. Predicting the unexpected can be difficult for even the most seasoned traveller. But traveling with kids adds an extra dimension to anxiety – the thought of your child getting sick in a foreign country is extremely frightening. Your doctor recommends various vaccines. Are they necessary? How do you assess the risks?

hepatitis B: It is a viral infection transmitted through contact with blood. In the US, hepatitis B is found mainly in adults and is spread through close contact or sharing needles used with illegal drugs. Hepatitis B is more common in the general population in East and Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Still, the long-term risk of complications is much less than we usually believe. More than 95 percent of those who get hepatitis B recover completely, and an infection results in lifelong immunity for that person. The risks of contracting Hepatitis B while traveling are extremely small, unless you plan to have prolonged close contact with infected people.

poliomyelitis: It is an infectious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The disease occurs primarily in children under the age of five; The first symptoms are fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. About 1 to 2 percent of children who get a viral infection end up with a stroke, although the vast majority survive this stroke completely. However, a few go on to have permanent, lifelong disability.
Polio is almost eradicated. As of February 2006, once widespread in the undeveloped world, only four countries still report isolated outbreaks: Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Additionally, there have been no cases of wild polio in the Western Hemisphere since 1991.

Polio vaccine for children in the US continues with 5 doses given before starting school, (1) until the polio eradication is complete, with the thought that the risk of polio reinfection in this country is “just a plane ride away”. However, an examination of the data reveals only six cases of imported polio documented between 1980 and 1998, the last of which was in 1993 in New York. (2) The risk of contracting polio at home is negligible; The risks abroad are almost the same.

Tetanus: It is an acute, spastic paralytic disease caused by a toxin released from the bacterium Clostridium tetani. The bacterium is found in soils and animal feces worldwide. Neonatal tetanus is the deadliest and most common in textbook tetanus cases. However, the vast majority of these cases occur after birth and after using non-sterile equipment to cut the umbilical cord. While other types of tetanus are a serious illness, recovery is normal. In other words, tetanus is not a single fatal disease. If you are traveling to remote areas, such as backpacking in areas where there is no medical care and clean water, you may want to think carefully about your tetanus situation.

One caveat, however: The tetanus vaccine does not guarantee protection. In a study published by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in 1997, 13% of people who get tetanus have had four or more tetanus shots. (3) Your best protection against tetanus is to thoroughly clean the wound with plenty of warm water. soapy water and to encourage profuse bleeding for several minutes on the injury. Apply hydrogen peroxide followed by a topical antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin, to clean your wound.


While traveling abroad, it is possible to encounter some diseases that are not usually seen in America. The Centers for Disease Control lists the following infections as potential concerns for anyone traveling anywhere in the world:

Typhoid: It is a mosquito-borne viral disease that can range from flu-like syndrome at the incision to severe hepatitis and hemorrhagic fever. The disease occurs only in sub-Saharan Africa and rural, tropical South America.

Japanese Encephalitis: Another mosquito-borne viral infection is found throughout Asia, particularly in rural or agricultural areas of temperate regions of China, Japan, Korea and eastern Russia. The risk is very low for short-term travelers to cities.
For all these potential infections, it’s important to get a natural mosquito repellent that doesn’t contain DEET, the toxic additive found in most insect repellents. Made by Royal Neem. It is chemical free and contains many natural ingredients.

hepatitis a It is a viral disease in which fever and diarrhea begin, followed by jaundice (turning yellow) within a few days. The clinical severity of the disease ranges from no symptoms to a mild illness lasting one to two weeks. Although hepatitis A is endemic all over the world, it can be prevented by following hygiene rules and following a few food recommendations:

  1. 1. Eat only cooked food that is hot to the touch. Avoid eating from street vendors.
    2. Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables unless you peel them yourself.
    3. For “safe” drinks only: sealed bottled water, hot tea, coffee, beer, wine, and boiled water; Avoid drinking iced drinks.
    5. Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat and seafood (risk of hepatitis).
    6. Avoid tap water and be careful not to get shower water in your mouth. When dining at restaurants, ask if salad greens have been washed in boiled, distilled, or bottled water.
    7. Avoid milk and dairy products with unknown cooling standards.


While the CDC recommends that all travelers get vaccinated when traveling abroad, it’s important to realize that vaccinations are not required before traveling anywhere in the world, with one exception: vaccinations are only “recommended”. You will not need to have a vaccination record to enter a country or to be vaccinated to return home. The only exception is the Yellow fever vaccine.It may be necessary if you are traveling to or from a South American or African country infected with yellow fever. Recommendations may vary from country to country; If such a destination is part of your travel plans, you should look at the Yellow Fever requirements for that country. (4)

I’ve been a part of the world for most of my adult life. I have had the opportunity to travel to more than 40 countries in the last 25 years. I have never been asked for a vaccination record and have never needed any vaccinations, even when traveling to remote, exotic places.

Final advice? Don’t forget to take your passport, sunglasses and your favorite book with you. Have fun and don’t risk getting sick before getting multiple shots.