First time overseas? Get these travel vaccinations before departing…

photo by CC user Jim Gathany via wikipedia (public domain)

Heading out on your first big trip around the world? While visions of temples, exotic beaches, and spreads of delicious foreign food are playing themselves out in your head, don’t let them blind you from the reality that there are diseases present overseas that you have no natural immunity due to their non-existence here in the spic and span West.

The follow travel vaccinations will allow you to have a holiday that is defined by awesome memories instead of a lengthy stay in a hospital bed halfway around the globe…

Hepatitis A/B

Both forms of hepatitis mentioned above are infections that cause inflammation of the liver, jaundicing of the skin, and in rare cases, liver failure and death.

The ‘A’ form of the virus is spread through poor bathroom hygiene and food preparation practices (often related to each other), while the ‘B’ form of the virus is primarily spread through sexual contact and the sharing of personal items like needles and toothbrushes.

This infection is easily avoided by getting the Twinrix vaccination, which offers protection against both types of hepatitis.

Yellow fever

A mosquito spread disease that is endemic to tropical South America and Sub-Saharan Africa, yellow fever is a scourge that is so feared by authorities, that those traveling to and from a region that has the virus must carry a card that certifies that they have been inoculated against it.

The mild form of the disease is bad enough, as it afflicts the infected with joint and abdominal pain, severe headaches, nausea and vomiting among other symptoms that will make you miserable for weeks.

It is the severe strain that you should be worried about, as 15% of those that contract yellow fever will experience jaundicing of the skin and eyes, internal bleeding, and potential organ failure; about half of those that get the severe strain die from it.

While the yellow fever vaccination can be expensive at home, it is well worth it for the peace of mind that it will grant you.

Those traveling through Latin America may want to stop off in Panama City, Panama first if wish to save money, as yellow fever jabs can be obtained through their National Health Ministry (Ministero de Salud de la Republica de Panama) for the unbelievable price of $5 USD.

Typhoid fever

Like hepatitis A, typhoid fever is a disease caused by the lack of proper hygiene and sanitation in the place which you will be visiting.

Unlike hepatitis, typhoid fever is caused by a bacterium that finds its way into food at restaurants with poor cleanliness practices, or by drinking tap water in destination with inadequate water treatment facilities.

Those infected develop fever, headache and diarrhea, while those with more severe cases experience internal bleeding from the intestines and spleen, as well as having an inflamed liver. While antibiotics can treat this illness, many treat it like a bad case of the flu, which can put their health in serious jeopardy.

Getting vaccinated will avoid this unnecessary unpleasantness, allowing you to enjoy a holiday uninterrupted by health concerns.

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