Shot Savvy Travel Cantonment FL

When traveling abroad, make sure you return home with souvenirs. Shot savvy travelers protect themselves against malaria, yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis and more.

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Shot Savvy Travel

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Shot-Savvy Travel

More than just a shot in the arm

By Charmian Christie

While most vaccinations aren't mandatory, they are highly recommended to prevent you from bringing infectious diseases back with your souvenirs. But don't rush out for a shot in the arm as soon as you book your flight. Whether you actually need the vaccine depends on more than the country of destination. Your age, the season you travel, your health, previous vaccinations and whether you'll be visiting urban or rural areas can also affect whether or not you need to get immunized.

Below is a list of the most common vaccinations, the zones they're recommended for and when you should get immunized:

  • Hepatitis A: This potentially fatal liver disease is usually transmitted through contaminated food or water. (Remember those ice cubes in that tropical cocktail?) If you're traveling outside the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand or Japan, it's wise to get vaccinated.
    • Get vaccinated four weeks before leaving.
    • Get a booster 6 to 24 months after you return.
  • Hepatitis B: Unlike A, this is usually spread through sexual contact or punctured skin (tattoos, sharing needles, unclean pedicure tools). Found worldwide, it's most common in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, Central America and South America . The vaccine is recommended for travelers who plan to live or work in high-risk regions for an extended time.
    • Start the three-dose vaccination cycle at least three months before leaving.
  • Typhoid Fever: The risk of contracting this life-threatening disease is greatest in North and West Africa, South Asia and Peru.
    • Get vaccinated two weeks before leaving.
    • Note: the vaccine is only 70 percent effective. Be careful with food and drink when traveling in infected areas, since the disease flourishes in poor sanitation.
  • Malaria: This life-threatening disease is carried by mosquitoes. Most common in Africa, South America, Central America, Asia and the Middle East, there is no vaccine to prevent infection. Avoiding mosquitoes and taking the anti-malarial tablets exactly as prescribed are your best defenses.
    • Purchase the tablets before you go. Not only are the pills available in malaria-infested regions overpriced, they are most likely counterfeit.
    • Take the drugs exactly as prescribed, even if this means continuing the dosage after you've left the malaria zone. This is crucial.
  • Meningococcal Disease: High mortality rates make vaccination a must if you travel in sub-Saharan Africa (from Mali to Ethiopia ).
    • Get vaccinated two weeks before leaving.
  • Tuberculosis: Once called “consumption” or “the wasting disease,” TB was common in North America at the turn of the century. While rare in North America now, this potentially-fatal lung disease kills millions around the world every year, especially in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Central and South America and parts of Eastern Europe.
    • Immunization d...

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