Immunization for Travel
See the next immunizations and vaccinations guide when travelling to East, West, North, Middle or South Africa:
Please remember these are very broad and general advice or recommendations. Some of it might not be relevant to certain countries, tours and accommodation. Contact your closest immunization clinic that the opportunity to pass on heath promotions and materials to all ages parents and older children, to introduce you into routine kids and childhood immunization schedules.
Recommended Vaccines, Typesand Importance:
See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots, like Yellow Fever to take effect.
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
- Hepatitis B if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
- Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
- Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
- As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for a adult. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not complete the series as infants.
- No matter where you're travelling to, it's always the best idea to be up to date on immunizations and vaccinations.
To Stay Healthy:
- Wash hands often with soap and water.
- Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by both filtering, through an "absolute 1-micron or less" filter, and adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. "Absolute 1-micron filters" are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
- Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
- If you visit an area where there is a risk of malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription).
- Protect yourself from insects by remaining in well-screened areas, using repellents (applied sparingly at 4 hour intervals) and permethrin-impregnated mosquito nets, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants from dusk through dawn.
- To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
- Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Avoid Getting Sick:
- Don't eat food purchased from street vendors.
- Don't drink beverages with ice.
- Don't eat dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
- Don't share needles with anyone.
- Don't handle animals (especially monkeys, dogs, and cats) to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague).
- Don't swim in fresh water. Salt water is usually safer.
- Just remember - immunization can also be started from infections, like a person can be immune to hepatitis B if he/she gets sick with hepatitis B.
- Long-sleeved shirt and long pants to wear whenever possible while outside to prevent illnesses carried by insects (e.g., malaria, dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and onchocerciasis).
- Insect repellent containing DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide), in 30%-35% strength for adults and 6%-10% for a child. Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin. (Bed nets can be purchased in camping or military supply stores).
- Over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medicine to take if you have diarrhea.
- Iodine tablets and water filters to purify water if bottled water is not available.
- Sunblock, sunglasses, hat.
- Prescription medications: make sure you take enough with you to last during your trip, as well as a copy of the prescription(s).
Back at Home:
- If you have visited an area where there is risk of malaria, continue taking your malaria medication weekly for 4 weeks after you leave the area.
- If you become ill, any reactions or side effects of your trip - even for up to a year after you return - alert and tell your doctor where you have travelled.
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