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Well and Good: Travel Preparations

You’ve booked your hotel, you’ve bought the plane tickets, you’ve even started thinking about what you’ll pack. But there’s one major part of your summer vacation planning that may have slipped your mind: Do you need any travel vaccinations?

Most of us only think about stopping at the doctor or pharmacy for shots if we’re going somewhere really exotic. But actually, any time you’re traveling, especially out of the country, you should take a moment to consider what vaccinations you might need.

The Centers for Disease Control divides travel vaccinations into three categories: Routine, recommended and required.

Routine vaccinations protect you against diseases that occur rarely in the United States, but can still be fairly common in some parts of the world. These include vaccinations against diseases such as measles and chicken pox that many of us received as children, as well as such vaccinations as the Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (whooping cough) combination that need occasional boosters.

Recommended vaccinations are those that are recommended if you are traveling in certain destinations, to protect against diseases common in those places and to prevent infectious diseases from crossing international borders. Examples include diseases such as malaria and typhoid.

Required vaccinations are rare, and apply only if you are traveling to certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa or tropical South America, where a vaccination against yellow fever is required.

Even if you’re going to a destination that’s relatively disease-free, however, it’s always a good idea to review your personal vaccination records. Although we often assume we are protected from everything because we got so many shots as children, that’s not always the case. There are newer vaccines that may not have been available when you were a child,  and some vaccinations are designed to require boosters every ten years or so. As we age, we also get more susceptible to certain illnesses, such as pneumonia.

FRESH has many common vaccinations needed for travel right in stock in our pharmacy, including hepatitis A and hepatitis B, pneumonia (pneumovax) and the Tetanus/Diphtheria/pertussis combo (Tdap). It’s best to get your vaccinations at least four to six weeks before travel, so come see one of our experts for advice.