In the previous posts in the Passport Health Holiday Travel Tips Series, we have discussed tips that will help you have a fun and safe trip, wherever your travels may take you. However, there is one piece of advice that is more important than nearly any other when it comes to preventing disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the best prevention of almost any disease is being vaccinated (assuming a vaccine is available for that illness). Here are three vaccines that should be considered before your next trip.
While not technically a ‘travel’ vaccine, the flu shot is one of the most important vaccines for anyone, especially travelers. It comes in a few different variants that serve different specific purposes and population segments.
Trivalent– This is the “standard” flu vaccine. It protects against three different types of the flu virus. It does also come in a preservative-free variation for those who may have latex or other allergies.
Quadrivalent- Similar to the standard flu vaccine, this variation protects against three strains of influenza, but it also adds one more for additional protection. It is generally suggested for high risk groups like the immunosuppressed or the elderly. Note that in future years, the production of the trivalent vaccine is likely to be phased out in favor of this version.
FluBlok– An egg-free version of the trivalent vaccine. It was recently approved for everyone 18-years and older, and is manufactured using a revolutionary cell-based technology that does not involve eggs, preservatives, antibiotics, or live influenza virus. If you are vegan or allergic to eggs, this is the vaccine for you!
FluMist– A nasal-delivered version of the vaccine that was recently approved for children. Even though this presentation of the flu vaccine is a nasal spray instead of a shot, it still must be given by a clinician, as the exact steps that must be followed to administer it are very specific.
Meningitis is a potentially deadly disease that can strike anyone, and it is something travelers need to be protected against. Vaccines for the disease protect against infections that can lead to meningitis, not the virus itself. The vaccine is still effective; however, the exact amount of time for which the vaccine is effective varies depending on the type you choose to get (or are able to get, based on age).
Menveo– As the newest of the meningitis vaccines, it is still unknown whether this vaccine requires a booster, and the exact amount of time it will last is still being studied as well. However, unlike the other two meningitis vaccines discussed below, this vaccine can be given to infants as young as two months old. If you will be traveling with a younger child in an area where meningitis is endemic, this is likely your best option.
Menactra– With five plus years of protection, Menactra offers the best known coverage at the moment. It is estimated that a booster is needed every five to 10 years. The vaccine can be given to children as young as two years and to adults up to the age of 55.
Menomune– One advantage of Mennomune is its known time table. If you chose to go with this vaccine, you will need a booster every three to five years. If you are over 55, this vaccine may be recommended as well, since unlike Menveo and Menactra, there is no specific date when it should no longer be given.
In all of these cases, consult with a Passport Health Travel Specialist for a better idea of what is best for you and your family.
This bacteria-borne disease is prevalent in areas with poor hygiene habits and sanitation, and it can be easy to contract, making this vaccine practically invaluable for those that may be traveling to areas that are still developing. This vaccine comes in two forms, an injection and an oral version.
Injectable Typhoid– This injectable variant of the vaccine can be given to children that are two years old, but immunity lasts for two years for people of any age who receive the vaccine. If you are an adult or your child is over the age of 6, you may want to consider using the oral vaccine.
Typhoid Oral- This four tab vaccine will protect against typhoid for up to five years. However, avoid antibiotics and anti-malarial medications seven days before and after receiving the vaccine. There is also the possibility of gastric upset for patients that chose to use the oral vaccine.
Depending on where you might be headed, the yellow fever vaccine might be the most important one you’ll get. Many countries throughout the world require the vaccination in order to enter certain regions or the country itself. These strict measures are in place to help avoid spread of a disease that has an extremely deadly history. If you receive the yellow fever vaccine, be sure to keep your Yellow Card with you at all times during your travel. If you lose it, you will either not be able to enter certain regions or could be given a vaccination on the spot.
What other vaccines do you think might be helpful before traveling abroad? Comment below or on our Facebook page with your thoughts.