Inoculations against the nasties
Since we have been brought up in a specific part of the world,
we only have immunity to the diseases found in our area.
Other countries in the world have different diseases that a
foreigner could easily contract. It is best to learn how to
minimise the risks and get vaccinated for the areas you are
After you have decided where you will be travelling, book an
appointment with a local travel nurse. A travel nurse will be
able to tell you which vaccinations and medications you will
need depending on which regions you are planning to visit.
It’s a good idea to do this well in advance as certain
vaccinations must be given several months before entering the
affected area. Also be sure to obtain your vaccination record,
as many countries may turn you away at the border if you
cannot prove you have received the correct vaccinations. The
nurse will also give you suggestions on how to stay healthy,
what to eat, where not to go, and what to do if you do get sick.
In the realm of travel medicine and vaccinations I am a
believer of, “If you think that you may need it, but are not sure
if it is necessary, spend the extra money and take it.” Your
travel route may change for some reason or you may be
exposed to someone who has been in an infected area. Being
sick in a foreign country with questionable medical facilities is
not most backpacker’s idea of a good time.
If you are on medication, make sure you take enough medicine
for the entire trip. Also, have all the contents clearly
documented by a doctor – the name of the medicine and
dosage as some checkpoints or border guards may be a little
suspicious at the contents.
Note: make sure that you know what drug allergies you have.
Hospitals in different countries use different types of drugs.
Make sure you know what you can and can’t take and make
sure that you communicate this to the doctor should the
occasion arise. Noting this information on a card in your
wallet (translated into a couple of different languages) or
wearing a “Medic Alert” bracelet could help you if you’re
ever in trouble.