How to Stay Healthy During a Mission Trip July 27, 2017 By Josh Martinez Leave a Comment While some people spend their summer lounging by the pool or sipping cold ice tea on the beach, others choose to give back throughout the warm months. One of the most popular ways to give back is through mission trips. Missions trips are located all throughout the world, each with a goal of improving another’s life or society as a whole. These missions can be sponsored by churches, schools, or programs. Some of the most common places for mission trips are Uganda, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Kenya. Each country requires some kind of different preparation to stay healthy and safe during the trip. One of these crucial differences is the necessary vaccines for each country: Uganda The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccines for Uganda: cholera, typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and influenza. Before entering the country you will need to provide proof of a yellow fever vaccination. It is recommended that you bring and apply ample sunscreen to prevent burning from the warm climate. Cholera in Uganda There is a risk of Cholera in some areas of Uganda, but also many habits to help avoid the disease. The cholera vaccine is the most reliable solution in avoiding the disease. It’s important to only drink water that’s bottled or was recently boiled. Actively wash your hands whenever possible show caution when swimming in open bodies of water. Dominican Republic The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccines for the Dominican Republic: cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and influenza. Two medical concerns for the Dominican Republic are Malaria and the Zika virus. Some areas of the Dominican Republic have risk of Malaria. It is important to talk to your doctor about the potential need for antimalarials. Zika has also presented itself in the Dominican Republic. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, it is important to consider the risks before traveling. Even beyond vaccines or antimalarials, there are ways to avoid mosquito-borne viruses. Mosquito netting, insenct repellent and long clothing can help keep you safe from the bugs. Haiti The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccines for Haiti: cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and influenza. The Zika virus also poses a risk in Haiti. With no Zika vaccine available, you will need to take precautions to avoid mosquitoes. Zika poses the greatest risk to pregnant women. The virus can cause health issues for both the mother and child. If you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, consider risk of the virus before leaving. Cholera in Haiti Cholera has been a major problem in Haiti since an outbreak began in 2010. Travelers are at a higher risk when it comes to cholera, making the vaccine a must before your trip. You can also practice preventive habits with consistent hand washing and by only drinking clean water. Even before Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, the country had few high quality medical centers. Clean up is still underway after the disaster and many of the medical centers are hard to reach. Make sure that all your health and vaccine needs are met before the trip. Kenya The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccines for Kenya: cholera, typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis, rabies, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and influenza. If you are coming from a country that has yellow fever, you must provide proof of the vaccine before entering Kenya. You are also required to show proof of vaccination as you leave Kenya for other places, as it is a country that has the virus. No matter which of these countries you visit, vaccines are required for typhoid, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps rubella (MMR), and influenza. Both typhoid and hepatitis A are commonly spread through contaminated food and water. Hepatitis B circulates via contaminated body fluids, often from sex or needles. Influenza spreads through airborne droplets, often from coughing or sneezing. Measles, mumps, and rubella are acquired through various vectors. Any contact with an infected person can leave you at risk of catching these diseases. Missing some vaccines for an upcoming mission trip? A Passport Health specialist can help! Call to schedule an appointment or book one online right now. Did we miss any health tips for these popular mission trip destinations? Let us know via Facebook, Twitter or in the comments.