Check vaccines off your list of travel plans

Planning to travel? Be sure to also “pack” a good measure of preventive health with up-to-date vaccinations.

“Here are some key vaccinations and protections to consider when traveling, especially abroad,” explained Shazia Gill, M.D., board-certified infectious diseases specialist with Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital.

Shazia Gill, M.D., Infectious Diseases, Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital

  • MMR – This measles, mumps and rubella vaccination is very important, especially if you’re over 55 because immunity levels decrease as you age. Recently, there’s been a resurgence in measles which is very contagious.
  • Tetanus – This vaccination is needed every 10 years.
  • Hepatitis A – Hepatitis A is one of the causes of “traveler’s diarrhea.” Often forgotten about by adults, it simply requires a series of two injections given six months apart. Hepatitis B is also recommended for most travelers.
  • Pneumonia – Pneumonia can be serious for people who have chronic illnesses, diabetes, cancer, or who are over 60 years of age. Therefore, pneumonia vaccination is recommended.
  • Meningitis B – Be aware that there is a new Meningitis B vaccination available, which is crucial for teenagers and 20-something-year-olds.
  • Mosquito Protection – These pesky little pests can wreak a lot of havoc as there’s been a renewal in mosquito-borne illnesses. Protective measures include DEET and other mosquito repellant sprays as well as long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

Overall, since most vaccines involve inactive forms (not live vaccines), most side effects such as fever and joint or muscle aches resolve after 24 hours.

Plan to see your physician to discuss these important vaccinations well before you embark on your travel. With a little prevention, you can take measures to stay healthy on your trip.