Posted on: 24 July 2017
Travelling is always an exciting experience, but it does come with risks, especially if you're visiting areas of the world where troublesome diseases tend to lurk. Fortunately, the World Health Organization (WHO) offers helpful guidance on which vaccinations you must have before visiting certain countries. However, there are some extras to consider, especially if you're engaging in voluntary work or heading off the beaten path.
Find out which immunisations you can't avoid
Some countries will not let you across the border unless you can prove your immunisation status. For example, it's impossible to travel to much of sub-Saharan Africa without a yellow fever certificate, and you may find it difficult to enter countries such as the United States after visiting said countries without proof of vaccination. Similarly, some countries require a Japanese encephalitis shot. If you're unsure as to which countries require certain vaccinations, you can always contact the relevant embassy in Australia.
Choose extras that suit the nature of your trip
Voluntary work for any period of time comes with risks. This is especially the case when you're working in the healthcare sector, where diseases such as hepatitis B and typhoid are more prevalent, thereby increasing your risk of catching them. Similarly, traveling to remote areas where public health is lacking means you may encounter weird strains of meningitis, making immunisations such as the Men ACWY vaccine necessary. It's sometimes difficult to determine which ones you do and don't need, so approach a specialist who can perform a health check if you're unsure.
Protect yourself against other diseases
Unfortunately, you can't vaccinate against every disease. You can, however, take extra measures to reduce the risk of catching them. For example, your pre-travel health check may flag the need to take anti-malarials to protect you against malaria. As each tablet is effective in different parts of the world, it's important to find out which one is appropriate. In addition, you can obtain advice on other protective measures, such as using DEET and wearing long clothing. Other diseases such as cholera and rabies also benefit from prophylaxis, which reduces your risk of catching the disease and gives you a chance of lessening the severity, should you encounter them anyway.
The stranger your travel destination, the more likely you are to need a litany of vaccinations to keep you safe. If you're unsure as to which ones are necessary, don't hesitate to undergo a health check to make sure you're getting the right ones. With the right program in place, you'll enjoy a smoother travel experience.Share