Travelers to other countries often face health issues they wouldn’t ordinarily experience at home. To minimize your risks of becoming seriously ill when traveling abroad, you should find out in advance whether any specific immunizations may be recommended for travel to the region of the world you’ll be visiting. It’s also a good time to review your own immunization history.
It’s best to schedule a visit to your doctor four to six weeks before an international trip. Since your body needs time to build up immunity after receiving a vaccine and many vaccines are given in a series over time, getting an early start on your immunizations is the best way to protect yourself. Even if you are making a last-minute trip or plan to leave in less than four weeks, you should still check with your doctor to see if any vaccines or preventive medications might be recommended.
The CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) divides travel vaccinations into three categories: routine, recommended, and required. The only vaccine classified as “required” by International Health Regulations is the yellow fever vaccination for travel to certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America.
Routine vaccinations are those that are normally administered, usually during childhood, in the United States. These include immunizations against
- hepatitis B,
- hepatitis A,
- Haemophilus influenzae type b,
- human papillomavirus, and
International travelers should make sure that these vaccinations are up to date and that no boosters are required, since many conditions which are rare in the U.S. due to immunity in the general population may be more common in other countries.
Recommended vaccinations are given to protect travelers from illnesses that occur routinely in other parts of the world. Express Healthcare Doctors determine which vaccines are recommended for international travel on an individual basis, taking into consideration your destination, whether you will be spending time in rural areas, the season of the year you are traveling, your age, your overall health status, and your immunization history.
The only vaccine required by International Health Regulations is yellow fever vaccination for travel to certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America. Meningococcal vaccination is required by the government of Saudi Arabia for annual travel during the Hajj.
Our board certified physicians will provide comprehensive health care that includes consultation and immunization services; after checking your current health and ask about your medical history and knowing your destination the physician will offer appropriate vaccines (according to CDC Guidelines) and optimum and up to date health information for your travel needs (such as insect precautions and insect repellents, Anti-Malarial, water and food precautions, current outbreaks and health safety measures).
You can walk-in to our urgent care clinics any day during the year. Our office personnel and medical staff speak English, Spanish, Somali, Chinese and Arabic. Appointments are recommended at Med-Ped Health Care (301-345-4400), however the physicians can see patients on a walk-in basis at Express Healthcare (301-345-6600).