Travel Medicine and Vaccination – Things You Should Know

Travel Medicine and Vaccination - Things You Should Know

International travel is becoming more & more popular by the day. Along with the great adventures, wildlife, nature, & new culinary experiences, comes the risks associated with them such as infections. There is a wide range of virulent bacteria & viruses that travelers are vulnerable to if they have not received the appropriate vaccinations.  

It is necessary to exercise caution & wisdom before embarking on any journey. Along with the packing of clothing, toiletries, proper footwear, etc, it is important also to have the appropriate medications needed while traveling & to be properly vaccinated. 

Vaccinations

To see a comprehensive list of diseases present in the countries you plan to visit, please take a look at the CDC website. This website will also have the most updated vaccine recommendations & requirements. You should then consult with a physician for further discussion & administration of the appropriate vaccinations.  At the Medical Access Urgent Care Clinics, we have experienced Physicians/Providers who are very knowledgeable about international travel.  

Validity/Effectiveness Period of Vaccines

  • Hepatitis B: life 
  • Hepatitis A: 20+ years 
  • Yellow Fever: life 
  • Rabies (if taken before exposure): 10 years to life 
  • Polio: 10 years to life 
  • Tetanus: 10 years 
  • Japanese Encephalitis: 3 years 
  • Typhoid: 3 years 
  • Influenza: 1 year 

It is important that you maintain a proper immunization record for both status check & proof of vaccination. 

Certain vaccinations may necessitate multiple visits – rabies vaccine, for example, is given in 3 doses over 21 to 28 days – so make sure you first consult a doctor at least 4 to 6 weeks before your departure date. 

Another point to remember is that some vaccines like MMR, Varicella, Oral Polio, and Yellow Fever vaccines are all live vaccines. Even though these can all be administered on the same day, if one is missed, the next live vaccination cannot be given until one month later. Please keep this in mind.  

Medicines 

Although, the medicines that you need to carry with you is dependent on the area you will be going to, the most common medications to keep in your suitcase are:

  •  Acetaminophen/NSAIDs 
  • Cough lozenges 
  • Anti-histamines 
  • Cold medicine 
  • Digestive aids (probiotics or lactobacillus capsules, antacids) 
  • Anti-diarrhea tablets  
  • Antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea & bronchitis 
  • Anti-malaria tablets (Mefloquine, Doxycyline, or Chloroquine) 
  • Insect repellents with minimum 25% DEET 

At the Medical Access Urgent Care Clinics, we are open extended hours for your convenience. Along with minimal waiting time & easy access, you will get personal, caring attention from our physicians and other healthcare providers. Just walk into any of our 3 clinics located at Woodbridge, VA, Germantown, MD, or Alexandria, VA today, and consult with our providers about the medications & vaccines that you may need on your upcoming trip.  

We wish you a wonderful & safe journey.