Immunization can be an inconvenient detail in preparation for a long voyage, but it is crucial in order to ensure a safe and healthy one. The correct immunization depends on your health, medical history and destination. Immunizations exist for two reasons:
* To protect you from illness when you are exposed to harmful bacteria or viruses for the first time. Different cultures, fun as they may be, have different disease factors not found in North America.
* To protect populations at risk from contracting an illness brought in by you.
Factors in choosing appropriate immunization include:
* what immunizations you have had in the past
* your current state of health
* your destination
* your length of time you plan to stay in a designated spot.
* plan at least 6 months to 1 year in advance of your departure.
Immunizations come as a series of injections delivered over intervals of several weeks to months. Most common diseases found in the third world countries are transmitted by the following means:
* mosquito bites.
* poor sewage treatment and contaminated water.
* sharing of body fluids or blood from an infected person to an uninfected person. * working with or increasing exposure to the native population, especially in the rural areas.
* Japanese encephalitis
* Yellow fever
* Dengue fever
* Sleeping sickness( African Tryponason)
Poor Sewage/Sanitation and Contaminated Drinking Water:
* Hepatitis A
* Typhoid fever
* Chagas disease
Blood Borne Diseases:
* Hepatitis B and C
* HIV and Aids
Air Borne Diseases
These travel with air droplets and saliva i.e., sneezes, coughs and people speaking to you.
With all of these in mind, it is necessary to reassess your destination and the diseases that are more rampant for that specific area. Then get inoculated accordingly. Keep in mind that a number of third world countries still have diseases that we consider almost obsolete because we have been fortunate enough to be inoculated. These include tetanus/diphtheria, polio and measles. This is a good place to start the inoculation process. Booster shots for typical “childhood diseases” should be evaluated. Consult a qualified travel medicine clinic. There are many available, but keep in mind that only selected clinics can offer yellow fever immunization.
by Fernanda Morley