Traveling to exotic places is exciting, especially if you’re on your honeymoon – a well-deserved reward for all the planning and hard work that went into making your wedding day one to remember. But, traveling abroad requires planning too, so your trips doesn’t become something you would rather forget. This planning includes finding out if you need to receive any vaccinations before arriving in your destination. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website has a list of countries around the world and their recommended vaccines for travelers.
Some countries have illnesses not usually seen in North America, such as malaria or polio. If you need a visa to enter your destination country, you may not receive it if you can’t prove that you have been properly vaccinated.
Some vaccines are mandatory, others are suggested. For example, the CDC recommends that travelers to some countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Central America and in some parts of Eastern Europe, be vaccinated against rabies if they plan on participating in outdoor activities, like hiking or camping, or if they will be in close contact with animals.
Other recommended vaccines may be for diseases such as:
- Yellow fever
- Hepatitis B
- Malaria (oral medicine that you take throughout the trip)
Whether you take the suggested vaccines is a personal choice but there are some issues to take into account when deciding if you should or should not go that extra mile:
Vaccinations for international travel can be expensive. But if you’ve spent a lot of money on your trip, you aren’t going to be able to enjoy your destination if you become ill. And if you become seriously ill, you may need to return home sooner than planned, which is an extra cost. So before you decide to save money on vaccinations, look at the big picture.
While no medication or vaccination can guarantee that you won’t experience a side effect, the most common one is soreness at the injection site. Some people do experience a mild fever or muscle aches after receiving a vaccination, but they usually don’t last long. Side effects are very minor compared to the disease you are preventing.
Some vaccinations must be taken well before you embark on your honeymoon. While you do have a lot to do to plan for your big day, making time for the vaccinations will likely pay off in the long run. Also, by planning to have your vaccinations well in advance of your trip, if you do have any side effects, they should not affect your wedding or your travels.
Many of the vaccines required by other countries are routine vaccines here, so you may have had them when you were a child, but you also may need a booster if you haven’t already. These include:
- MMR: Prevents mumps, measles and rubella (also called German measles)
- DTaP: Prevents diphtheria, tetanus (also called lockjaw), and pertussis (also called whooping cough)
- Polio: An oral vaccine
There are many more routine vaccines in the United States, which are listed on the CDC website.
Where to go?
If you do need vaccinations before you travel, contact a local travel clinic or health department to find out where you should go and what you need to do. The CDC has an interactive map to help you find the health department closest to you.
No one plans to get sick, but you can plan to reduce your risk. Add your health plans to your pre-wedding to-do list, so you can relax and enjoy that honeymoon.
TapGenes Take Away: Do your research before your travels, and avoid nasty surprises.
Marijke Vroomen Durning is a registered nurse, health writer and author of Just the Right Dose: Your Smart Guide to Prescription Drugs & How to Take Them Safely.
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