Planning a vacation is an exciting experience, especially if you’re going to a tropical region. Making the right preparations for the trip is essential to having a stress-free time. One of the most important things to do before heading off to a tropical country is to get the right vaccinations, so as to ward off dangerous diseases.
The most widely known tropical disease is malaria, a condition caused by the female mosquito Anopheles. It is mostly associated with third world countries and has symptoms such as vomiting, high fever, muscle aches and pains, diarrhea, and headaches. These can show up after 15 days , and sometimes within a year from the bite by the female mosquito, although sometimes they may appear immediately after being bitten. The vaccination dosage for malaria will depend on the tropical country that the person is traveling to, as some strains of the disease are more serious in some countries than others. Children are susceptible to this condition, and must be inoculated well in advance of travel. Malaria chemoprophylaxis vaccinations should start 1-2 weeks before travel to areas known to have a high risk of malaria. It is recommended that you continue taking these medicines as long as you are at risk of exposure.
Other Tropical Diseases To Beware
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) is a vaccination that is recommended for all travelers, and not just to those going to third world countries. Places in the EU are also susceptible to having the three viruses, as immigrants to the region may be coming from places more prone to the diseases. Those who were born after 1956 and who intend to travel outside the US must get 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, with a minimum of 4 weeks between each of the injections.
Hepatitis A is a tropical disease that is prevalent in Latin American countries, and is contracted from coming into contact with contaminated food or water. A study by the CDC, shows that most cases after 2007 originated from Mexico, Central America, and South America. The symptoms associated with this condition include nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and jaundice, but with medication and a Hepatitis A vaccine prior to travel, you can reduce the risk of contracting it and any symptoms you do encounter.
Yellow fever, like malaria, is transmitted by a mosquito and is common in tropical regions. Travelers should be especially wary of this disease, as it stays dormant in other people as well as animals. It is found in sub-Saharan Africa as well as some South America tropical regions. Resistance increases with age, which means that those traveling with kids to these regions should get yellow fever vaccinations. Named YF-Vax, the yellow fever vaccine is made of live viruses of the disease that boost the body’s immunity.
Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by parasites living in tropical regions. It is transmitted through the bite of a female sand fly, but can also occur from coming into contact with the parasites in a laboratory setting. Leishmaniasis is prevalent in Middle Eastern countries, Southwest and Central Asia, Southern Europe, and North Africa. Many of the cases diagnosed in the US originated from Latin American countries. It is also common with US military personnel in desert regions. Unfortunately, there are no vaccinations to prevent this common tropical disease. As is with most of the other diseases, it is important to limit outdoor activities especially in the morning and evening hours.
Talk to your doctor before travelling abroad to make sure all your vaccinations are up to date.
This article was written together with Travis Guerrero, a health and nutrition expert who hopes to help you live a healthier life. He writes this on behalf of Houston Vaccines, your number one choice when looking to get vaccines in the Houston area. Check out their website today and see how they can help you get the right vaccines before you go on your trip!