Question: My husband and I are planning our next vacation, and while we haven’t yet decided on our destination we’re concerned that we may need to be vaccinated before we go. If we’re careful about washing our hands and careful about what we eat, why do we need to get shots?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommend that all of your recommended vaccinations are up to date before you travel. While it is simple to think that you’re already vaccinated against common infectious disease, you need to realize that a lot of infection diseases that exist are common in other part of the world but rare in the United States – and therefore you may not actually be vaccinated against them.
Timing your vaccinations
You should consult with your doctor about what vaccinations you might need at least six weeks before you intend to travel. This is because you may need a series of vaccinations depending on where you are going and it may take that long for your body to build up immunity.
This is also a good time to review your routine vaccinations with your doctor and make sure that you are up to date on any you and your family may need.
Don’t forget your measles vaccination!
There is a good chance you have heard about the number of measles cases in the United States over the last year. The CDC states that most of the measles cases in the United States were brought into the country by unvaccinated travelers, and that 2 out of 3 of the unvaccinated travelers are Americans. It’s estimated that about 110,000 people worldwide die every year from measles.
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