Sunday, December 17

Travel Immunizations For Children

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Vaccinations are a personal choice and I am in no way advocating one way or the other, but when traveling internationally with children, researching the types of illnesses common to the region you will be traveling to is essential.  If you are against vaccinating, you may need to adjust your travel plans if there happens to be an outbreak of say, typhoid, in the area you had originally planned on visiting.  Travel clinics can be very informative as it is their job to keep updated on the latest conditions in the countries in question.  

Even for someone who is in favor of immunizations, there are considerations to be taken when traveling internationally with small children.  Some vaccines are not available for babies.  As an example, the Hepatitis A vaccine cannot be administered before 12 months of age and typhoid immunizations cannot be administered before the age of 2.  Some of the malaria medications are also not safe for young children, so these are considerations that do need to be taken seriously.  Having your child become seriously ill in a foreign country is something no parent wants to experience.

A health care provider or travel immunization clinic should be consulted 3 months prior to departure for the trip in order to allow sufficient time for immunization schedules to be completed.  This health care provider or travel clinic may also provide prescriptions for medications to take in case of contracting illnesses that are specific to that region.  

One thing that is very important to remember to carry with you along with other travel documentation such as passports and travel insurance is your immunization record.  Some countries restrict travel to those who are not immunized for certain things such as yellow fever, though exceptions can be allowed for allergies or health concerns that prevent the safe administration of such immunizations.  In these cases, a letter from your primary physician may be required for entry. 

Immunizations can be very expensive, especially for a large family, so be sure to check with your health plan to see if they cover some or all of the cost for vaccinations.  Some health plans will only cover the cost if pre-approval is granted, so be sure to consult with them BEFORE your scheduled immunizations take place.

For a listing of travel clinics in the United States, check http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

For a listing of travel clinics in Canada, check http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/travel/clinic-eng.php

Another thing to take note of is that the most frequent health concerns experienced during international travel are not preventable by vaccines.  Even in getting all the recommended vaccines for a particular country or region, an individual must still take precautions when it comes to things such as coming into contact with contaminated food and water.

Hopefully this information will help keep your travel as safe and fun as possible.

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