For people who are traveling abroad, getting the appropriate vaccinations is an important item on the pre-trip to do list. If your summer travel plans are taking you outside of the United States, visit with family doctors to find out what types of vaccinations you will need. Check with your doctor about specifics, but the general rule is that you will need to get the vaccines for diseases that are common to the area.
People traveling to Nigeria or other African countries, for instance, will need to visit a doctor to get vaccines for malaria, yellow fever, polio, and hepatitis A among others, while people who go to the Middle East will need to see a doctor for typhoid and hepatitis A.
If you are not up-to-date on standard vaccines within the United States, see your family physician about those vaccines as well. The standard vaccines needed for international travel include DPT, MMR, varicella, and the flu shot. The CDC, Centers for Disease Control, has comprehensive information on what vaccines are needed and recommended for visiting any country in the world.
Travelers who fall into “special” categories, such as women who are pregnant, children, extended stay travelers, and the immune-compromised often need additional vaccines, which one’s family physician should know to suggest. People who are traveling into relief areas after natural disasters or during famines or wars also should talk to a trusted doctor, such as the ones at Western Washington Medical Group, about additional vaccines that may be helpful.
The healthcare providers at a family physician office may be able to give your vaccines, but they often will need to know about your travel plans in advance. While a doctor may be able to give you a yellow fever vaccine, for instance, he or she will need to order the vaccine well in advance.