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Pre-travel advisory for travelers

Health and Travel

Breaking new dimensions.

You’ve made your flight reservation, are closing up loose ends at home and at work, and are beginning to pack for your trip to Africa. You’ve had a lot of travel shots in the last few years (hopefully! ), so getting more shots isn’t high on your “to do” list…until some last-minute googling shows that a Yellow Fever vaccine may be one of the required vaccinations for your trip! This is an issue because a last-minute Yellow Fever vaccine is often tougher to come by than a 6-leaf clover until at least mid-2019 (or at least 5-leaf).

What distinguishes a vaccine as REQUIRED rather than RECOMMENDED?

This is a question we get virtually every day in our NYC Travel Medicine practice.

If a country won’t let you cross a border (or, in rare occasions, participate in a specific event) without the vaccine, you’ll need it. It does not necessarily mean that the shot is recommended by any body, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), though most of the time it is.

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Three examples of REQUIRED vaccinations:

  1. Traveling to Uganda, where all passengers above 9 months of age should have a Yellow Fever Vaccination, and then to South Africa, where the shot is required for entry. It’s required because you’ve just arrived from a nation where you’re at danger of contracting Yellow Fever, and South Africa, like many other countries, requires passengers from those countries to get the vaccine 10 days before crossing their border.
  2. Visiting Pakistan (or other countries with Polio) for more than four weeks… Before you can LEAVE the nation, you must have a Polio booster shot between 4 weeks and 12 months.
  3. If you’re performing Hajj, you’ll need to get a meningitis immunization.

You can choose to forego RECOMMENDED travel vaccines (but this may not be in your best interests!). If you skip a REQUIRED travel vaccination, your journey could be cut short at the country’s border. Even documents explaining why you are unable to have certain injections due to medical concerns may not be enough to avoid your trip being delayed or cancelled!

Consider getting a Leave Medicine consultation with a Travel Medicine Professional before you travel to determine which vaccinations are suggested and which, if any, are required. Avoiding the first sort of immunization may be harmful to your health; while, avoiding the second may result in your trip being cut short.

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Existing medical conditions

It’s advisable to have a medical check-up if you’re above a particular age or have an accident or medical ailment that might prohibit you from traveling normally. Your doctor will be able to tell you if you are fit to travel, when you can travel next, and whether or not your existing medical conditions will be aggravated while you are away.

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Travel

One out of every five tourists reports having sex with a new partner while traveling abroad. Travelers may be enticed to do things they would not do at home by the excitement of being in a new country and meeting new people. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea can infect travelers who engage in unprotected sex (whether vaginal, anal, or oral). Because many STDs have no symptoms or indicators, you or your partner may be unaware that you are infected. While most STDs are treatable, if left untreated, some can cause major health issues. It is usually preferable to prevent an STD.

STDs (sexually transmitted infections) are still a major public health concern. Every day, almost one million people are infected around the world. Similarly, an estimated 357 million new infections with one of four STDs occur each year: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Due of voluntary or involuntary sexual conduct when traveling, travelers are particularly vulnerable. If you are traveling to Atlanta GA, you can find this affordable Atlanta STD Testing Center, and you are heading to New York City, stop by NYC STD Testing Clinic. 

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