Healthy, not so wealthy, but wise- Your GTG’s quick guide to travel vaccinations

Season’s greetings globetrotters and welcome back as we muddle though the first entry of the final month of 2013. What a long and terrifying list it would be to individually name all the kinds of sickness out to plague the brave-bellied traveller. Instead, this week let us focus on how to best avoid falling ill abroad with some careful forward planning.

How might I get sick?

English: Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aeg...

English: Stegomyia aegypti (formerly Aedes aegypti) mosquito biting a human. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just like at home, any number of things can get you on an unlucky day but a few main sources of concern include:

  • Mosquitos (and their bites)
  • Stagnant or contaminated water
  • Contaminated food
  • Animals (particularly wild ones)

What can I do about it?

You GTG recommends a good old-fashioned combination of selective caution and a visit to your local travel health clinic well before departure. Remember these are businesses and are run as such so before visiting a travel clinic your GTG recommends consulting your chosen guidebook which will give you a better idea of which vaccines may be more necessary for a visit to a particular destination. You can find some links to some travel clinics and travel health advice sites to get you started.

What else should I keep in mind?

  • You may have received some of these vaccinations as standard health management in your home area (those needles that terrified us in school may now come in handy).
  • Some vaccinations will need follow up injections before or after travel. These can take as long as 3-6 months so the earlier you plan the better.
  • It’s handy to keep a small log book with your passport of what vaccinations you have received and when. Many places will offer this to you at the time of vaccination.
  • Getting a vaccine through the public health system may save you cash, so go for it, unless of course you have money to pay for it and would rather leave those resources for the less-privileged #ethical dilemma.
  • Vaccinations can be pricey so you may be forced to put a price tag on your health, everyone’s line will be different.
  • When travelling in areas with high mosquito numbers, a mosquito net may prove an invaluable addition to your luggage, at least something you could ask about wherever you’re staying for a trouble free slumber.

About that list…..

English: This 2006 image depicted an adolescen...

English: This 2006 image depicted an adolescent female in the process of receiving an intramuscular immunization in her left shoulder muscle, from a qualified nurse. The girl was assisting in the procedure by holding up her sleeve, while watching as the injection was administered. The nurse was using her free hand to stabilize the injection site. ID 9400 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now I know we said there wouldn’t be one but for those of you who aren’t easily put off please read on 🙂 For the rest of you, have a wonderful week, see you for another dose of travel-disaster immunity next week.

Ranging from the minor to the deadly serious, the list includes:

  • Food poisoning
  • Malaria
  • Dengue fever
  • Typhoid
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Tetanus
  • Yellow fever
  • Hepatitis- Strands A and B are more specifically related to travel but look out for C too…
  • Diptheria
  • Polio
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pertussis
  • Cholera
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Rabies
  • HIV
  • Meningococcal disease