TRAVEL VACCINATIONS

WHICH SHOTS DO YOU NEED?

A Travel Vaccination Guide – A Must Read 

By Ken Faught

 

Whenever you travel overseas, you need to think about travel vaccinations. It’s important that you learn which shots are needed for the various countries, and how to save money on travel vaccinations.

 

 

Travel tips – a quick guide to what travel vaccinations do you need.

 

My first real experience with vaccinations came when I went to Zimbabwe and Botswana for a television show I was hosting Outdoor Life Network. I almost didn’t go because I heard too many conflicting stories about various diseases and didn’t know what type of vaccinations I should get. I also didn’t know the difference between vaxxing and immunizations. I was straight up confused. I also didn’t know where to get vaccines and I wanted to know how to save money on vaccines.

According to the Center of Disease Control “Vaccination: The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease. Immunization: A process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination. This term is often used interchangeably with vaccination or inoculation”

 

Vaccines Can Save Lives

Vaccines are now a real part of my life and I have learned that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are staying, you could get infected. A friend of mine, Stefan Everts, got Malaria in 2018 and was in a coma and later had to have a portion of his foot amputated. He is a 10-time World Motocross Champion, worth tens of millions of dollars, and he got it, and nearly died.

 

See A Doctor – Know Your Body

Since then, I have made every attempt to take all the proper precautions. It’s usually just a 20-minute visit to get a shot and it could save your life. It’s also recommended that you consult your doctor and tell anyone and everyone who is treating you about any medical conditions you may have. I lost my spleen during a motorcycle racing accident in the 1990s and that has had an impact on my body. There are a lot of factors that go into determining what vaccines you may need, so just be very educated and use this as a guide, not a directive. You may also consider getting a physical before you travel, just in case you have a compromised immune system or something else that would prevent healthy globetrotting. There are also other consideration, especially for kids and pregnant women. It’s also a good idea to maintain your own Immunization Records in addition to those that your doctor may have on file. 

 

Check With The CDC

The best source of information we have found is from the Center of Disease Control’s own Traveler’s Health Website. This is usually up to date and will help you determine which vaccinations or recommended for different regions of the world.

 

COVID-19

Although many companies around the world are working on vaccines for COVID-19, there is nothing available as of October 2020. 

 

 

 

Jennifer Emig got a Tetanus shot in Kauai after a zipline mishap. Most doctors believe travel vaccinations are really important.

Standard Vaccinations Recommended For All Countries

 

Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis (TDaP)

All three of these are bacterial diseases, but the most talked about is Tetanus. Tetanus is a bacteria created from animal feces and it comes from the soil. When Tetanus enters the body, usually from a wound, it creates a potentially deadly toxin called Tetanospasmin. This can be deadly if untreated as it can impact your ability to breath, in addition to causing severe nerve spasms to the face, arms and legs.

Cost - $50-$80

Protection – 10 years

Recommended for all countries

 

 

 

Flu Vaccine

I have to get an annual flu shot every year because I lost my spleen in an off-road motorcycle racing accident in 1996. The Influenza virus spreads easily through the mouth and nose. Symptoms typically include a fever, cough, headache, sore throat, fatigue and the chills. Most of the time, the flu only lasts 3-5 days, but it can be fatal depending on a lot of factors.

Cost - $25-$50 (sometimes covered by health insurance)

Protection – Thought to persist for at least 6 months.

 

Measles

This an extremely contagious disease caused by a virus.It is also called Rubeola.The virus reproduces in the nose and throat of an infected person. It is passed when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks near another person.  It can live on a surface for several hours. Symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, inflamed eyes and tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background on the inner cheek lining of a person’s mouth.The vaccine is for Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR).

Cost - $75-$105

Protection - Lifetime if 2 doses where received as a child

Recommended for Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Americas, and Africa

 

Recommended for all countries

Hepatitis A

This is a liver disease with a gross origin. It’s spread through food and water that was contaminated by feces of an infected human. It can also spread through sex. There is no cure and symptoms are very similar to Influenza. This vaccine requires two doses typically spread over six months.

Cost - $50-100 (sometimes covered by health insurance)

Protection – Lifetime

Recommended for all countries

Hepatitis B

This is also a liver disease, but it’s spread through blood and bodily fluids through sex, contaminated needles and razors, and toothbrushes. Untreated this can damage the liver, and sometimes people don’t realize they have Hepatitis B because the symptoms are so mild. The vaccination typically requires several injections over a 3-4 months.

Cost - $50-$90 (sometimes covered by health insurance)

Protection – Lifetime

Recommended for all countries

 

Many viruses are caused by mosquitos, and are not found in cold regions.

 

Recommended Vaccines for a Lot of Countries

Typhoid Fever

This is a bacterial infection spread through food and water contaminated by feces. It has an approximate 10% fatality rate and affects approximately 15 million people worldwide each year. Symptoms typically include a fever, abdominal pain, headaches, small, red spots on your abdomen or chest (rose-colored spots) and loss of appetite and weakness.

Cost - $75-300

Protection – 5 years (pills), 2 years (injection)

Recommended for Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands, South America and Central America.

 

Recommended Vaccines For Some Countries

 

Many viruses spread by mosquito are in rural, jungle or hot and humid areas of the world.

 

Malaria

This is highly recommended for Africa, Asia and South America as it can cause kidney failure, coma, and even death. Malaria is transmitted by female mosquito bites and there are four different strains. This creates flu-like symptoms that include a fever, chills, headache, fatigue and body ache.

Cost - $25-200 depending on the drug.

Protection – Doctors typically prescribe Atovaquone/Proguanil (Malarone), Mefloqine (Lariam), Doxycycline, or Chloroquine (Arlen). The protections only lasts while you are on each medicine.

Recommended for Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands, and South America.

 

Rabies

This is a viral disease contracted from the bite of a dog, skunk, bat, fox or raccoon that effects the central nervous system and brain. This can be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms start off very much flu-like, but eventually progress to insomnia, confusion, hallucinations and even partial paralysis. There is currently no medicine available to prevent rabies, but there is a medicine that you can take in advance that makes treating Rabies much easier.

Cost - $500-$1000 

Effective period – 5-8 years

Recommended for South America, Middle East and Africa.

 

 

Cholera

This diarrheal illness kills over 100,000 people every year and it’s spread by consuming food and water contaminated with fecal matter. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, vomiting and cramps.

Cost - $30-$50 

Protection – 1-2 years

Recommended for select South African countries including Egypt, Morocco, Congo. You can see a full map that will show you other areas where you need protection.

 

Travel with confidence like Vanessa Doleshal knowing that you have taken all the right precautions and have all the right vaccinations. 

 

Polio

This is also a viral disease spread by fecal matter or saliva, which is why most people in the United States receive a vaccination as kids. Polio can cause respiratory failure, paralysis and death, and this used to be common worldwide. After the initial injection, most doctors recommend a booster shot, especially if you are going to certain countries.

Cost - $30-$50 

Protection – Lifetime

Recommended for Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East.

 

Meningitis

There are several different forms of meningitis and it’s a bacterial infection that targets the brain and spinal cord. Some countries in the Middle East and Africa have occasional outbreaks and symptoms include a fever, stiff neck and headache. Meningitis is typically caused by kissing, coughing and consuming contaminated food.

Cost - $75-$200 

Protection – 3-5 years

Recommended for Africa and the Middle East

Japanese Encephalitis

This disease is another one spread through an infected mosquito bite, and it’s common in Asian farmlands. Travelers aren’t at much of a risk unless traveling to rural areas during monsoon season, but it can cause, among other things, swelling of the brain and even death.

Cost - $150-$750 

Protection – 1-2 years

Recommended for Asia and Southeast Asia

 

Required Vaccinations For Some Countries

 

Yellow Fever

This viral disease is caused by infected mosquito bites and has a high mortality rate. In fact, some countries require vaccination if you have visited Africa or South America within 2-3 months. Yellow fever causes nausea, vomiting, high fever, abdominal pain and headaches. In extreme cases, it can include hepatitis, hemorrhagic fever and death.

Cost - $150-$250

Protection – Lifetime

Recommended for Africa and South America

 

 

There are so many viruses and diseases in the world that it’s possible to catch something virtually anywhere.  

When to Get Vaccinated

Some regions of the world require immunization for entry and are actually required. Consult your doctor about how much time it takes for the shots to become effective before you leave. Some even require second shots and/or boosters. In reality, most shots take a least a week to be effective, so timing is an important consideration. We also recommend that you maintain a yellow immunization card which has all the important information about your vaccination history. For international travel in regions where disease are a problem, it’s recommended that you carry this card with your passport as it is an internationally accepted form of proof.

 

Where to Get Vaccinated

If you have health insurance, we suggest that you reach out to them first, as they may have preferred providers that can save you money. That information is often listed on their website, but you may need to call. They may send you to a specialist, hospital or even a county or state health department.

CVS Pharmacies, Walgreens Pharmacy and even Vons Pharmacy offer a variety of vaccination services. It’s best to call the pharmacy to find out what travel shots they offer and what insurance they accept.

Another good source of information is the International Society for Travel Medicine. This is a director of doctors, travel vaccination providers and travel health resources, and it offers location-specific information.

You may also consider having it done in the country in which you are traveling to, as it may be less expensive in the event it’s not covered by your insurance. I live in California and it’s very common for people to go to Mexico to get medication and even have cosmetic surgery. 

 

Travel Vaccination Tips Abroad

If you decide to get a vaccination in another country, there are some things that we recommend:

 

•Do enough research until you are comfortable and do it before you embark on your trip.

•Read what other travelers have recommended in the last 3-6 months

•Verify that the doctor is licensed or certified, depending on the country.

•Search for larger hospitals in major urban areas that are clean and appear to be more high-tech.

•Pay with local currency.

Here’s a list of foreign medical centers that offer cheap travel vaccinations, but note that we have not been to any of these, as we have received all our vaccinations in the United States.

 

Africa

South Africa – Netcare Travel Clinic

 

Southeast Asia

Malaysia – Twin Tower’s Medical Center

Thailand – Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute

Vietnam – Family Medical Practice

 

South America

Argentina – Aleman Hospital

Brazil – Hospital das Clinicas

 

Additional Useful Information

There are also several dozen other diseases that are important to note and they are called Neglected Tropical Diseases.  Two of these, Zika and Dengue Fever are the most common and both are caused by mosquitos. Neither Zika or Dengue Fever have vaccines, so we have some other useful information on how to protect yourself.

Dengue Fever

There are four different viruses that can cause Dengue Fever, and all are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk is primarily in South America and Central America, but it has been traced to other parts of the world. The flu-like symptoms can cause long-term medical conditions and even death.

 

Zika Virus

This is also caused by mosquitos and the symptoms are typically mild, but it can cause damage to unborn babies due to a birth defect of the brain. This is called microcephaly and this is typically found in South America and Central America.

 

 

How to Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites

The goal is to avoid mosquitos as much as possible, especially in jungle and rural areas, and if you begin to feel sick, seek medical attention immediately. You should also take the following precautions:

  • Use an inspect repellent made with Deet, and apply to all exposed areas of skin and keep reapplying throughout the day. If you use sunscreen, apply the inspect repellent over the sunscreen.

  • Cover up as much as possible, especially the arms, legs and neck.

  • Wear loose clothing.

  • Sleep under mosquito nets if you have any concerns that they might get into your room.

  • Use permethrin to treat your clothes as this kills mosquitoes soon after contact.

 

We Are Not Doctors

Remember to do your own research, and not that although we try to keep this information up to date, medicines do change and so do a lot of other factors regarding viruses and other health threats. We want you to be safe, and hope this story alerts you to the seriousness of vaccinations and some of the viruses out there that can cause you serious harm or even death.

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People also ask

*What vaccinations do I need to travel? We recommend checking with the CDC’s website

*Where can I get vaccinations before traveling? Check with your insurance provider, but it’s common to find them at CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens Pharmacy, Von’s Pharmacy and many others.

*Does insurance cover cost of shots for travel? Check with your insurance provider

*How long before trip should I get vaccinated? That depends on the shot and we recommend consulting your doctor as they know your personal history and can warn you against side affects and provide other important information.

 

 

 

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Hi! We are Ken Faught & Vanessa Doleshal. We love adventure travel, photography & share our journey with YOU! Our goal is help you plan that perfect trip & keep inspiring you to take the next one. 

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