The Singapore Ministry of Health recently announced the second death from dengue fever this year in the country. Singapore, which has been known to have outbreaks of the mosquito-borne virus, noted this important fact in this report: both deaths were individuals visiting the country from abroad. Although the ministry is still trying to determine where the second patient contracted the disease, the first patient was living in a known dengue-infected area.
Unfortunately, dengue fever is fairly difficult to prevent in comparison to rabies, yellow fever or even influenza. The disease is spread by mosquitoes, but there is no vaccination against it, with the best protection coming in the form of mosquito repellents. However, regardless of the existence (or not) of a vaccine, both of these cases serve to show the importance of travel medicine for all individuals. Travel medicine is about more than just vaccines; be sure to visit a travel health specialist before any trip, whether vaccines are required or not, to make sure you are armed with the best strategies for staying healthy and safe.
Why Should I Visit A Travel Clinic?
Visiting a travel clinic isn’t just something we believe you should do. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends visiting a travel clinic before you leave the country, especially if traveling to an area where infectious diseases are present. There are a few key reason for this guidance:
- Getting sick on your trip can be expensive for you and potentially others if you need to be airlifted or otherwise removed from the country.
- If you get sick, you could pose a threat to yourself, other travelers and locals.
- Bringing back an infection with you could endanger the health of your friends, family, coworkers and community members.
- Falling ill while abroad isn’t fun, and the CDC as well as other medical professionals would like you to enjoy your trip while keeping yourself and others safe.
In addition to these points, many countries require certain vaccinations, such as the yellow fever vaccine, in order to enter the country. Just as a passport and visa may be required to enter certain countries, some nations require proof of your immunizations in order to protect the health of their people. If you don’t have proof of vaccination, you may be required to return home at your own expense, just as you would without a visa.
Visiting a travel clinic before you leave can help alleviate all of these issues and help you stay safe and happy while traveling.
Why Do I Need Travel Vaccines?
Travel vaccines, and vaccination in general, are typically the best form of protection against diseases. Smallpox, polio, rubella and other infections have either been eradicated or nearly eradicated with the help of safe and effective vaccines in the U.S. As a result, some diseases may not exist where you live, and you may have never been vaccinated against them. Consider this:
- Japanese encephalitis is an Asian tropical disease spread by mosquitoes, but it does not exist in North America. Because it is mosquito-borne, a person can become infected without even realizing they’ve been exposed.
- The majority of measles outbreaks in the U.S. over the last decade have started when an unvaccinated traveler visited a region where the disease was present and carried it back to their community.
- Falling ill during your trip can cost as much as $1,000 per day, and many of the most common travel illnesses are preventable through vaccination or other medical means.
Your travel vaccination needs will vary depending on where you are going, making it important to consult with a travel health specialist, like at your nearest Passport Health, about what is best for you during your trip.
How Can I Stay Health Before, During and After My Trip?
Visiting a travel medicine clinic is the first step in assuring good health while traveling. Follow this list of important tips to learn some of the key things you can do:
- Visit a travel health clinic to learn about what risks you may face overseas.
- Receive any travel vaccinations you may require.
- Be sure to have any other travel medicine supplies you may need such as antimalarials, a traveler’s diarrhea kit and mosquito repellents.
- Take proper precautions while traveling such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding street foods.
- Follow the instructions you have received for your travel supplies including applying mosquito repellents or sunscreen regularly, taking antimalarial pills or following water sanitation protocols.
- Remember to receive any booster shots you may need after your trip.
If you have any further questions or require assistance with your travel medicine needs, please see our travel vaccinations page or contact a Passport Health Travel Specialist today by calling or booking your appointment online today.