Written by 13:52 Travel Insurance, Health & Safety

Travel Immunizations & Medications


Travel immunizations & medications

You can’t plan far enough in advance for travel immunizations.  The US CDC recommends checking with your doctor AT LEAST 4-6 weeks before you travel to see what immunizations you may need for your intended destination.  Even if you don’t want to get certain vaccinations, you may not have a choice.  Certain countries, Saudi Arabia for example, actually require you to have some vaccinations before you’re allowed entry into the country.  The last thing you need is to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars for an airline ticket, only to be turned away at your destination.

You’re never too old or young to have basic immunizations.   At a minimum, you should at least be vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B, plus be current on your Tetanus shots.  Adults should have a Tetanus booster every 10 years.  You’re highest risk while traveling is Hep A.  Hep A can be contracted in areas of poor sanitation or from infected people who handle food.  Hep A and Hep B can be contracted via unprotected sex or from IV drug users.  Tetanus could be easily contracted by simply stepping on a rusty nail.  Many people contract Hepatitis without even leaving the country, so even if you travel domestically, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated.

[box type=”note” ]When you get your vaccinations, ask for a vaccination record card. File it away in a safe place at home so you’ll have a handy reference for what vaccinations you’ve had and not had. [/box]

Vaccination Requirements for your Destination
It’s easy to find out what you need as far as vaccinations for your destination.  You can check the US CDC website or the UK NHS Fit For Travel site.  Both have very detailed information about what you need and things you should be aware of for every country on the planet.  You may also want to check with you regular family doctor or your local County Health Department. If you belong to an HMO, they may have a travel clinic that can help you as well.

[box type=”note” ]Disease outbreaks can happen at any time. The CDC maintains a a “Travel Notice” section of their website that has up-to-the-minute health information for every destination. Check it out right before you leave![/box]

Traveling with your medications
One thing you don’t want to forget when you leave home, is any medications that you take on a regular basis.  If you’ll be taking prescription medications along, it’s always advisable to check and see if they’re allowed in the country your visiting. It’s also helpful to make sure you’re name appears on the bottle to help avoid confiscation at your port of entry. You can check the State Department website for the country you are planning to visit.  You certainly don’t want to have your medications confiscated or worse yet, be stuck in jail in the country your visiting for violating local laws.

[box type=”note” ]Make a list of the medications your taking before you leave and carry the list with you. Better yet, enter it in your mobile device, so it’s always handy. That way, in case of emergency, you have a list of everything you taking at hand.[/box]

You never know what will happen on your trip, so you should always take a few extra days worth of medication.  You never know when your flight may be delayed or you decide to spend a few extra days (expected or unexpected) at your destination.  Also, make sure to pack your medications in your carry on not your checked luggage.  Your checked luggage may take a different route to your destination than you do and you don’t want to be without your meds.

Before leaving, have your doctor give you duplicate prescriptions for your medications.  That way, if you lose your medications on your journey, it will make it easier to get the necessary refills.  Also, you should take a copy of your current prescription for each medication that your taking.  That way, if you’re stopped in immigration and your destination, it will help prove that the medications are yours and not illegal.

[box type=”note” ]Never put a majority of your medication in your checked baggage. If your bag is delayed or contents stolen, you’ve got a problem. Put most of your medication in your carry-on. You may still want to put a small amount of your medication in your checked bag, just in case you lose your carry-on. Never put all of your eggs in one basket.

Put your doctor and/or pharmacists phone number in your mobile address book. That way you’ll have it handy if you need to contact them in an emergency while you’re away.[/box]


Last modified: January 4, 2014